GEORGE SCARBOROUGH: The Life and Death of a Lawman on the Closing Frontier by Robert K. DeArment

GEORGE SCARBOROUGH: The Life and Death of a Lawman on the Closing Frontier

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The life and times of one of the more modest frontier gunmen, and his sizable role in the taming of the New Mexico and Arizona Territories, by Wild West biographer DeArment (Knights of the Green Cloth, 1982--not reviewed). Scarborough had more than his share of gunplay and excitement in his brief career as a defender of law and order, and his reputation among his peers and the desperadoes he tracked throughout the southwestern wilderness was considerable, but he failed nonetheless to achieve the lasting fame of a Pat Garrett or a Bat Masterson. The son of a Texas homesteader and parson, Scarborough knew firsthand the unsettled conditions on the southern frontier in the wake of the Civil War. After riding the range as a cowboy, he decided he'd ""rather run men than cattle"" first, in 1984, as sheriff of Anson, Texas, then as deputy US Marshal in untamed El Paso, and finally, during the 1890's, as a private detective for the New Mexico Cattlemen's Association. Best known at the time for his killing of gunslinger and latter-day lawman John Selman in El Paso, Scarborough was forced by that incident and an earlier shootout to stand trial twice for murder, but he was acquitted in both cases. Intent on his work, he had little appreciation for sensationalized news reports of his exploits, even refusing to talk to journalists for fear of revealing too much of his methods, so when he was gunned down on the trail in 1900 and died after surgery, the mysteries and legends surrounding him were largely forgotten. Unfocused and as much about Scarborough's milieu as the man himself, but still a colorful rendering of the hard men (and women) who thrived on the frontier.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Univ. of Oklahoma Press