Rough as a sand burr and tough as a boiled owl"", opinionated, unscrupulous, profane, highhanded -- and occasionally softhearted, this is the story of Roy Bean, who takes his place in frontier Americana with Paul Bunyan and Davy Crookett. There is a definite Roy Bean myth -- ""myth which has had considerable help from Roy Bean"" -- but truth and legend combine to make a highly entertaining story of a scoundrel. Schooled with an axe and a gun in Kentucky, he ran off to Mexico at an early age, left at the point of a gun, took to blockade running, then settled in Beanville, Texas, where he became very lazy and very low. In late middle years he moved west of the Pecos, set up a saloon and a court of justice, put up a good show, pocketed the fines, and interpreted the law in a selfinterested and successful manner. First at Vinegaroon, then at Langtry -- named for his beloved Jersey Lily, he performed as marriage broker, coroner, saloon keeper and Solon. Sonnichsen keeps a truthful perspective on his subject -- writes with nice wit as well. Western market, largely, a pleasant special item.