OUTLAWS ON HORSEBACK by Harry Sinclair Drago


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Mr. Drago has a field day puncturing myths about horseback outlaws but also performs a genuine service by giving a definitive form to the whole body of material, as if he'd written Decline and Fall of the Western Outlaw. Each of the gangs he discusses has been more fully studied in separate volumes elsewhere, but the condensation and authority of Mr. Drago's opus can't be faulted. The horseback gangs grew out of Missouri and Kansas following the devastation of the Civil War (the two states continued the War between themselves for ten more years), and their last bandit, Henry Starr, died robbing an Arkansas bank in 1921 while automobiles passed by on the street. Myth says 5,000 bandits roamed the prairies but Mr. Drago puts it at 200 ""genuine horseback outlaws"" because he doesn't count bootleggers. Of the 75 outlaws he mentions in his record, 71 die violently, with only a handful of deputy marshals going down. In gun duels, the marshal's badge was an extraordinary advantage.

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 1963
Publisher: Dodd, Mead