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Ride the Devil's Herd

Wyatt Earp's Epic Battle Against the West's Biggest Outlaw Gang

John Boessenecker



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Hanover Square Press
17 March 2020
A Pim County Public Library Southwest Books of the Year 2021 A True West Reader's Choice for Best 2020 Western Nonfiction Winner of the Best Book Award by the Wild West History Association The little-known story of how a young Wyatt Earp, aided by his brothers, defeated the Cowboys, the Old West's biggest outlaw gang. Wyatt Earp is regarded as the most famous lawman of the Old West, best known for his role in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. But the story of his two-year war with a band of outlaws known as the Cowboys has never been told in full. The Cowboys were the largest outlaw gang in the history of the American West. After battles with the law in Texas and New Mexico, they shifted their operations to Arizona. There, led by Curly Bill Brocius, they ruled the border, robbing, rustling, smuggling and killing with impunity until they made the fatal mistake of tangling with the Earp brothers. Drawing on groundbreaking research into territorial and federal government records, John Boessenecker's Ride the Devil's Herd reveals a time and place in which homicide rates were fifty times higher than those today. The story still bears surprising relevance for contemporary America, involving hot-button issues such as gang violence, border security, unlawful immigration, the dangers of political propagandists parading as journalists, and the prosecution of police officers for carrying out their official duties. Wyatt Earp saw it all in Tombstone.
Imprint:   Hanover Square Press
Edition:   Original ed.
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 163mm,  Spine: 41mm
Weight:   590g
ISBN:   9781335015853
ISBN 10:   133501585X
Pages:   512
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

John Boessenecker is the author of nine books, including New York Times bestseller Texas Ranger: The Epic Life of Frank Hamer, the Man Who Killed Bonnie and Clyde. He has received the Spur award from Western Writers of America, the Best Book award from Westerners International, and in 2011, 2013 and 2019 True West named him Best Nonfiction Writer. He has appeared frequently as a historical commentator on PBS, The History Channel, A&E, and other media. He lives near San Francisco, California.

Reviews for Ride the Devil's Herd: Wyatt Earp's Epic Battle Against the West's Biggest Outlaw Gang

Wyatt Earp's role in the 1882 border conflict with cattle thieves, smugglers, and stage robbers known as the 'Cowboys' has been controversial, but John Boessenecker does a masterful job of unraveling the story and giving it a carefully crafted reconstruction that immediately moves this book to the first rank of books not only about the Earps but also about outlawry in the Southwest. Using fresh material, mature analysis, and well-paced writing, Boessenecker adds yet another major work to his growing shelf of splendid histories. -Gary L. Roberts, author of Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend Ride the Devil's Herd is a marvelous book. By means of meticulous research and splendid writing John Boessenecker has managed to do something never before attempted or accomplished, tying together the many violent clashes between lawmen and outlaws in the American southwest of the 1870-1890 period and showing how depredations by loosely organized gangs of outlaws actually threatened Manifest Destiny and the successful taming of the Wild West. -Robert K. DeArment, author and historian Wyatt Earp, arguably the most iconic of all American lawmen, is carefully examined by master Western historian John Boessenecker in Ride the Devil's Herd. Written with an astounding grasp of his subject, Boessnecker has realigned Earp as a man against an incredible foe: the cow-boys of the southwestern borderlands. Using newly-discovered archival records, Ride the Devil's Herd is one of the most important volumes in Earpiana in decades. -Erik J. Wright, National Tombstone Epitaph and author of Phil Foote: Lawman, Outlaw... Hell-Raiser One of the first lessons when you begin researching Tombstone is that the outlaws are far more interesting than the lawmen. John Boessenecker makes that abundantly clear in in telling their story of the legendary conflict in Cochise County. This engrossing book is a major addition to the literature of Wyatt Earp history. -Casey Tefertiller, author Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend

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