LUKE SHORT AND HIS ERA by William R. Cox

LUKE SHORT AND HIS ERA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Although this rambling and unpretentious biography is set in the rip-roaring days of the post-Civil War West, its protagonist is for once neither outlaw nor frontier marshal, but a man of business, a professional gambler who made money out of his career and kept it. Born in 1854, one of a large family, Luke Short grew up on the Texas frontier not far from Fort Worth, at to joining a cattle-drive from that city up the Chisholm Trail to Abliene and Dodge City, Kansas, where he became friendly with Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and fell in love with professional gambling. As an expert, and usually square, faro dealer, Short's career covered the West. In Tombstone he shot a man in self-defense, in the Black Hills, temporarily deserting cards, he made money selling whiskey illegally to Indians and killed half a dozen of them in the process; in Denver he learned the joys of fine clothes. Returning to Dodge City, he established himself in the Long Branch Saloon, but in 1883 was run out of town by a rival gambler and politician, Courtright. In the ""Dodge City War""; in Fort Worth, four years later, Short, now running a plush saloon, killed Courtright in self-defense. More or less respected as a man of business but never receiving the social recognition for which he longed, Short lived to see gambling made illegal and died at the age of 39, more important as a symbol of his time than for himself. Carefully documented but badly arranged and too long for its subject, this book will appeal to Western buffs of various breeds; historians of the Old West will value it for its lengthy account of the now forgotten ""Dodge City War"".

Publisher: Doubleday