HEROES WITHOUT GLORY: Some Goodmen of the Old West by Jack Schaefer

HEROES WITHOUT GLORY: Some Goodmen of the Old West

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The author of Shane and many other fiction favorites set in the Old West would like to see more perspective brought to bear on its major figures. To this end, he puts up a heated argument in his Introduction against the glorification of gunslingers and the experts who alternately rise to enshrine or debunk them. He's found some goodmen, a few familiar but most unsung. He sings them. The rhetorical flourishes are those of the born storyteller and legend builder. i.e., in Snowshoe Thompson who skied the mail into isolated Sierra Towns on almost impossible terrain, the sketch is regularly interrupted by refrains of, ""See him now, Snowshoe Thompson of the High Sierra... just a big broad shouldered not-too-bright Norsky..."" Purists may shudder, but the zest is here together with the research and general readers will respond to the treatment. The pieces on Grizzly Adams, who not only lived with bears but outfoxed P.T. Barnum, and Elfeg-Baca, the Spanish American lawman/lawyer are outstanding. Elfego's exploits, rich with Latin mischief, beg for dramatization.

Pub Date: March 17th, 1965
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin