In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

158 Western American Literature please, Mrs. Sandoz, but it seems to uneducated man like me the new music is for fine palace.” Old Jules heard him and roared, “Nothing’s too good for my family and my neighbors.” “The children have the frozen feet,” the man said quietly. “Frozen feet heal! What you put in the mind lasts!” There were records to please each taste from The Preacher and the Bear to The Moonlight Sonata. Jules was particularly gratified to read in the paper, after the memorable Christmas, “This Jules Sandoz has not only settled a good community of home seekers but is enriching their cultural life with the greatest music.” This illuminating account of a pioneer Christmas in Western Nebraska should be interesting to those who remember and informative to the younger generation. A n n e Sm it h , Utah State University The Wild Bunch. Edited by Alan Swallow. (Denver: Sage Books, 1966. 136 pages. Introduction. Foreword. Bibliography. $3.95.) The last book, so far as this reviewer knows, to be edited by the late and much-mourned Alan Swallow is a strange and somewhat mysterious little volume about Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch of cowboy train robbers. These were the gay desperadoes par excellence of the years just before and just after the turn of the century—cheerful, daring, resourceful, highliving and free-spending young bandits who ranged from the Hole in the Wall in Wyoming to the Mexican Border. Their story is familiar. Even casual students of the West know that their leader was George Leroy Parker of Circleville, Utah, son of a Mormon elder, and that he and his outlaw elite kept ahead of the Pinkertons until they all bought dress-up clothes in San Antonio and made the mistake of having a group picture taken. After that they could be identified and the law closed in. Ben Kilpatrick, Harvey Logan, Elza Lay and Bob Lee were captured and went to jail. Bill Carver and George Currie were killed. Butch Cassidy and Harry Longabaugh Reviews 159 survived a few years longer by transferring their hold-up techniques to South America, where they held up one payroll too many. The literature on this small but highly skilled and successful gang is quite extensive. The two leading documents are James D. Horan’s Desperate Men, based on Pinkerton Agency files, and Charles Kelly’s The Outlaw Trail, which exploits first-hand oral sources. It would seem that not much could be added at this late date, but in 1965 Swallow located a new informant—one whose name he does not reveal. He does tell us that the man is a “disting­ uished” member of “one of the recognized professions.” He says he resolved to let him tell his story his own way with “as little interference as possible.” As a result, much of the first part of the book need not have been written. Swallow himself admits that the background chapter on the cattle industry, the old-time cowboy and the Johnson County War might well have been spared, and much of the material on the exploits and personalities of the Wild Bunch is a twice-told tale. The narrative begins to run clear and fresh; however, when the story turns to Harvey Logan, the clever little man who was caught at Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1901. Harvey made a sensational jail break in June, 1903, went back to the wilds, and tried to resume his old business of robbing trains. By now, however, Cassidy was in South America and there was no well organized Wild Bunch behind him. In June, 1904, as a posse closed in, he committed suicide. The anonymous author says he got his information “from Logan’s own story of what happened.” The outlaw’s arrest, his legal maneuverings, and his escape are described in great detail. There is even a floor plan of the Knoxville jail. Who would know about all this better than Logan’s attorney, Sam Haskell, former mayor of Knoxville? If Sam didn’t write the book, somebody close to him probably did. The man was almost certainly a lawyer, one of the old-fashioned kind who could say...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 158-159
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.