Best of the West
- Written by True West Editors
- Published September 30, 2003
Celebrating our 50th anniversary, we at True West again reveal our hoarded nuggets, our favorite out-of-the-way secrets: the best brothel museum, the top country music artist, the wildest Western towns—the West’s best, bar none. We also share your picks in the Readers’ Choice. So dive on in and feast on the best of the West. We’re betting you’ll be glad you did.
Best Cowboy Artist of All Time
Some may quibble with the singular title (many consider Russell-Remington to be joined at the easel), but Charlie Russell was the first bona fide cowboy artist in the land. Remington painted many cowboys, Indians and soldiers, but Russell created some 5,000 Western works of art and never once portrayed a soldier. Interesting, eh? Readers’ Choice: Charlie Russell
Best Contemporary Western Artist
Because of the proliferation of so-called “Cowboy Art,” it is increasingly hard to break new trails, especially when the back trail is lit by such painting giants as Gordon Snidow, Bill Owen and James Reynolds. But one young artist (okay, he’s 45) is breathing new life into a somewhat predictable genre. John Moyers, the son of cowboy artist William Moyers, has not only found new trails but also new ways to incorporate old, classic themes, and his emphasis on Mexican vaqueros is a breath of fresh air. Not surprisingly, John is currently president of Cowboy Artists of America. Readers’ Choice: Buck Taylor
Best Native American Artist
Though he’s not as well-known as Pahponee or Oreland C. Joe, we opt for this New Mexico artist whose alabaster sculptures recreate his Lipan, Mescalero and Chiricahua Apache heritage. Besides, how many Indian artists are descendants of Cochise? Readers’ Choice: Maria Martinez
Best Western Historical Sculptor
Although Bob has sculpted everything from wildlife to mountain men, it was his portrayal of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp that got our attention. The level of detail, down to the removable revolvers with ivory grips, sets his work apart from any we’ve ever seen.
Best Western Sculptor
Susan credits her father’s career in forestry and a wall calendar painting by Frederic Remington for awakening her interest in art when she was a child. Susan’s bronzes depict everything from Native Americans and cowboys to a 10-foot tall bronze monument honoring Sedona Schnebly, the namesake of Sedona, Arizona.
Best Living Western Historical Novelist
Lucia St. Clair Robson
Beginning with her first book, Ride the Wind (about Comanche captive Cynthia Ann Parker), through her latest, Ghost Warrior: Lozen of the Apaches, Lucia combines a historian’s knowledge of facts with a novelist’s understanding of the human condition. As a result, she’s able to transport her readers to a world that is so real, they can smell the sweat.
Best Living Western Novelist
Winner of seven Spur Awards and, in 1995, voted “the greatest Western author of all time” by Western Writers of America. Enough said!
Best National Publisher of Western Fiction
New York, New York
Forge’s stable of Western writers is a Who’s Who of the genre. At a time when much of the publishing industry considers the Western novel if not dead, certainly comatose, Forge keeps Western literature alive by publishing authors such as Elmer Kelton, Lucia St. Clair Robson and Loren Estleman. Readers’ Choice: Bantam Dell/New York, NY
Best National Publisher of Western Nonfiction
Arthur H. Clark Co.
The company’s decision to reissue LeRoy R. Hafen’s 10-volume masterpiece The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West (to date eight volumes have been reprinted) all but guaranteed Arthur H. Clark Co. would win this category. The company’s offering of rare books on the American West is as good as the best university presses and better than most. Readers’ Choice: University of Oklahoma Press/Norman, OK
Best Place to Publish Your Own Book
So you’ve written a novel about your great-great gunfighting-grandfather and the New York publishers aren’t beating down your door. Not to worry, Morris Publishing may be your answer. This family-owned publishing company specializes in short-run printing—200 to 5,000 copies. Morris will walk you through the steps needed to get your book from your computer to bookstore shelves. And yes, Morris will take the mystery out of bar codes, ISBNs and Library of Congress Control Numbers.
Best Regional Publisher of Western Nonfiction
The Early West
College Station, Texas
Whether it’s Billy the Kid or John Wesley Hardin, the Early West’s repertoire of books on 19th-century outlaws and lawmen is certain to thrill and satisfy the most discerning Old West buff.
Best University Press Publisher of Western Nonfiction
University of Oklahoma Press
With its annual offering of new books about the American West and its large inventory of backlisted Western history titles, the UOP is a godsend to both professional writers and armchair historians. While many university presses ignore the history of the Old West in favor of more trendy subjects, the UOP keeps our Western heritage from being forgotten.
Best Backcountry Outfitter
High Wild & Lonesome
Big Piney, Wyoming
Ranch-raised Mike and Bobbi Wade get high marks for celebrating everything Western in the Cowboy State. They’ll help you get up close and personal with wild mustangs, cattle drives and the Pony Express Trail, while you soak up history, oodles of sunshine and Wyoming’s fall colors. These cowboy, horseback adventures aren’t for the faint of heart or soft of butt. Readers’ Choice: Cabela’s Outdoor Adventures/Sidney, NE
Best Contemporary Western Designer
Santa Fe, New Mexico
She’s Nashville’s Music Row, Dodge City’s Front Street and a New York runway rolled into one. Chandler Liberty’s custom-made apparel is a throwback to Nudie Cohen while incorporating the contemporary style of Manuel. She has helped outfit the cast of Annie Get Your Gun and millionaires wanting a one-of-a-kind look for a buckaroo ball. Readers’ Choice: Panhandle Slim/Fort Worth, TX
Best Historic Western Designer
If Ethel Place, the Sundance Kid’s beautiful paramour, were alive today, she would undoubtedly purchase her dresses at Recollections. Only here will you find a bathing suit that reminds you of a summer dress with short pants. Oh, excuse us, we mean a bathing costume. Readers’ Choice: Wahmaker/Oxnard, CA
Best Vintage Western Clothing Outfitter
Dan Scully’s company has earned accolades for its leather line, but more recently its vintage clothing has come into vogue. Scully produces the Wahmaker line—popular with Single Action Shooting Society members. In addition, its retro look of singing cowboy shirts would leave Gene, Roy and Dale envious. Readers’ Choice: Wild West Mercantile/Phoenix, AZ
Best Family Oriented Dude Ranch
The Elkhorn Ranch is one of those places where memories of a lifetime are created. Located about 60 miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona, this family-owned dude ranch has been dealing out Western hospitality since 1945.
Best Dude Ranches
Arizona: Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson
Colorado: Lost Valley Ranch, Sedalia
Idaho: Diamond D Ranch, Stanley
Oklahoma: Flying W Guest Ranch, Sayre
Montana: Averill’s Flathead Lake Ranch,
New Mexico: Double E. Guest Ranch, Gila
Texas: Y.O. Ranch, Mountain Home
Washington: K Diamond K, Republic
Wyoming: Crossed Sabres Ranch, WapitiBest Guided Trail Ride
Spur Cross Stables
Cave Creek, Arizona
So you don’t have time for a dude ranch, but you still want to go for a great ride? Experienced wranglers can guide you through the splendor of the Spur Cross Ranch in the Tonto National Forest. Experienced horsepeople and first-time riders alike will enjoy Indian petroglyphs and ruins as well as desert wildlife, so don’t forget your spurs.
Best Horse Trainer
Desert Hills, Arizona
Paul Dietz’s expertise with horses is sought out by everyone from beginning riders to Olympic gold medalists. Whether you’re trail riding, working cow horses, competing or you just want to hone your horsemanship, Dietz can take you from green to cowboy better than most. Readers’ Choice: Pat Parelli/Pagosa Springs, CO
Best Trick Roper
Sure there are other guys and gals skilled at twirling a rope. None of them, however, have Will Rogers’ panache. Until his untimely death in a small plane, this “Roping Fool” entertained millions with not only his rope skills but also his wit. Readers’ Choice: Will Rogers
Best Mounted Shooting Event
Cowboy Mounted Shooters of America
Each November, this is the “best of the best” from the founding organization for this fast-growing sport where marksmanship and horsemanship are critical. The CMSA boasts 101 affiliate clubs nationwide and calls itself a “family-vested organization” where you’re likely to see three generations—from grandpa to granddaughter—competing for the biggest purse in the sport. And best yet, the members proudly carry on the traditions of the Old West.
Best Single Action Shooting Match
End of Trail
No matter if you’re the fastest gun alive—single action, that is, no double actions here—or you enjoy watching talented shooters dressed as if they had just stepped out of an Overland stagecoach, this annual five-day world championship of cowboy action is just plain fun. Readers’ Choice: End of Trail
Best Old West Shoot-out
In terms of sheer firepower and killing action, it’s hard to match the number of bullets and shooters in front of and inside the Condon bank in downtown Coffeyville, Kansas, on October 5, 1892. The ill-fated Dalton raid on two banks simultaneously resulted in the deaths of four outlaws, four townsmen and four horses. If you’re into numerology, or simply a student of Old West history, one thing is clear: don’t mess with Kansas farmers during hunting season.
Best Trick Gun Handler
Watching Joey “twirl” his Cimarron single action revolvers gives new meaning to “Shock & Awe.” Dillon won the World Gunspinning Championship in 2001. Now 22, Dillon has won the Wild West Arts Club Championship, the Pat Rowan Award for Gunhandling and the Joe Bowman Award for Showmanship.
Best Trick Shooter
For the second year, Bob has earned this honor. No one comes close to Bob’s ability; he’s so fast that his reaction time baffles neurologists. He’s not just fast, he’s accurate, regularly splitting playing cards in half at exhibitions. That’s right, he cuts them in half (through the skinny side, not the face of the card).
Best Brass-Framed Repeater
Henry Big Boy
Henry Repeating Arms Co.
Brooklyn, New York
Chambered in .44 magnum, this big lever action powerhouse will never be mistaken for a squirrel gun. And besides packing a wallop, the gun has a famous pedigree, tracing its lineage back to the man who invented the famous Henry Rifle, Benjamin Tyler Henry. During the Civil War, one Confederate officer said, “It’s a rifle that you could load on Sunday and shoot all week long.”
Best Cap and Ball Revolver Reproduction
1851 Navy Colt
Navy Arms Co.
Union City, New Jersey
If this handgun was good enough for Wild Bill Hickok, it’s good enough for us. He carried a pair of ’51 Navy Colts even after the advent of cartridge revolvers. Navy Arms’ reproduction, chambered in .36 or .44 caliber, is a pleasure to own, whether you want to shoot it or merely put it out for display. Readers’ Choice: 1851 Navy Colt
Best Cartridge Conversion Revolver Reproduction
Cimarron F.A. Co.
Cimarron’s 1860 Richards-Mason Army Conversion reproduction, chambered in .45 S&W Schofield, .44 Colt, .44 Russian or .38 special, is accurate and fun to shoot. Original conversion models were as popular with Old West cowboys (who couldn’t afford a newer Colt Single Action Army) as the replicas are with today’s cowboy action shooters.
Best Commemorative Firearm
John Wayne Coach Gun
True West field editor Phil Spangenberger picked the double-barrel shotgun as the most important gun of the 19th century (Feb/March 2003). America Remembers’ commemorative 24-karat gold-engraved, 12-gauge double-barrel coach gun not only celebrates the shotgun’s importance in “taming” the Old West, but it also serves as a tribute to John Wayne. Readers’ Choice: 1984 Winchester-Colt Commemorative Set by U.S. Repeating Arms Co./New Haven, Connecticut
Best Custom Gunsmith
About 40 years ago, the sport of quick draw got Bob into gunsmithing when he needed to build up his own single action revolvers so they would be able to stand the thousands of rounds of ammunition he was firing. Today, Bob’s reputation as a gun doctor has gun owners lining up at his doorstep, whether it’s to beef up a factory gun or to restore a valuable antique.
Best Custom Old West Gun Manufacturer
R & D Gun Shop
Kenny is classified as a gun manufacturer and not simply a gunsmith because he’s one of a few who can make a gun from a block of steel and wood. We’re not talkin’ just any gun. Kenny made the revolvers used by Will Smith in the remake of Wild Wild West. He also made Tom Selleck’s guns for The Last Stand at Sabre River, Crossfire Trail, Monte Walsh and the upcoming The Empty Land.
Best Lever Action Rifle
.30-30 Model 336
The Marlin Firearms Co.
North Haven, Connecticut
When John Marlin first made the Model 336 in 1893, he probably never guessed he had just produced what would become his company’s most famous rifle and one of the most popular rifles of all time. Today, Marlin’s .30-30 is still top dog among lever action rifles, in part because its sturdy receiver permits more chamberings than its competition.
Best Old West Non-firing Replica Firearm
1892 (Winchester) Western Carbine
Made famous by the TV series The Rifleman and Wanted Dead or Alive, the 1892 carbine has the same weight and feel as the real gun but is inexpensive and safe. And yes, the lever action works, so you can spin-cock like Chuck Connors to your heart’s content.
Best Old West Rifle Reproduction
Model 1865 Spencer Carbine
Taylor’s & Co.
Taylor’s & Co., Inc. and Armi Sport have teamed up to build the best Spencer rifle reproduction on the market today, one offering a smooth action that will stand up to years of use. First produced by Christopher Miner Spencer, the Model 1865 corrected design flaws in Spencer’s original 1860 model and gained a solid reputation on the American frontier. Readers’ Choice: Uberti’s 1866 “Yellowboy” Carbine by Benelli USA/Pocomoke, MD
Best Sharps Rifle Manufacturer
C. Sharps Arms Co.
Big Timber, Montana
When you think of 19th-century buffalo hunters, the name Sharps nearly always comes to mind. Big-bore blackpowder rifles, such as the Sharps Model 1874, were the boss gun of the Great Plains. Today, C. Sharps Arms continues that tradition with its new Model 1874 Sharps Boss Gun, which carries with it more than 100 years of tradition. Quality is the reason the registered trademark of C. Sharps continues to be “Old Reliable.”
Best Single Action Army Reproduction
United States Fire Arms Mfg. Co.
Made in Hartford, Connecticut, the cradle of the nation’s early gun manufacturers, the modern single action army “Rodeo” is historically correct down to its use of a solid firing pin. This revolver makes the Old West a little more accessible to us all. Readers’ Choice: Cimarron Model 1873 Single Action Army by Cimarron F.A. Co./Fredericksburg, TX
Best Single Action Revolver—Historic
Colt .45 “Peacemaker”
Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co.
The name Colt is synonymous with the Old West. In fact, we’re sure you’ve heard the axiom “God created man, but Samuel Colt made them equal.” This mainstay firearm was so reliable and innovative, a first generation .45 caliber Colt is one of the most collected guns today. True West’s field editor Phil Spangenberger rated the Peacemaker as #5 on his list of the 50 guns that won the West.
Best Single Action Revolver—Modern
Ruger Bisley Vaquero Sturm, Ruger & Co.
This is the ideal revolver for those wanting the Old West look with the safety of Ruger’s transfer bar mechanism and loading gate interlock. The SASS-approved Bisley Vaquero is kind to your gun hand, whether chambered in .357 magnum, .45 Colt, .44-40 or—for the Dirty Harry types—.44 magnum.
Best Old West Saloons
Alaska: Red Dog, Juneau
Arizona: Copper Queen Hotel, Bisbee
California: The Crazy Horse, Irvine
Colorado: The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver
Idaho: Casino, Ketchum
Kansas: Long Branch Saloon, Dodge City
Minnesota: Sweeneys Saloon, St. Paul
Montana: Montana Bar, Miles City
Nevada: Mt. Charleston Lodge, Mount Charleston
New Mexico: Cowgirl Bar, Santa Fe
North Dakota: The Iron Horse, Medora
Oregon: Jake’s, Portland
South Dakota: Saloon # 10, Deadwood
Texas: White Elephant Saloon, Fort Worth
Wyoming: Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Jackson
Best Haunted Saloon
Big Nose Kate’s Saloon
Lots of old saloons say they’re haunted. Big Nose Kate’s (formerly the Grand Hotel) claims to have regular hauntings witnessed by numerous patrons. Whether they’re a dead cowboy or soiled dove, the ghostly occurrences boggle the mind. Aggressive spirits have been known to push unwitting waitresses down the back stairs. It’s not a place we’d like to be locked in overnight. Readers’ Choice: Birdcage Theatre/Tombstone, AZ
Best Historically Accurate Saloon
When Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel opened in 1902, its most talked about feature was the saloon’s cherrywood bar (see p. 98). It was a gift from Queen Victoria of England to show her gratitude for a court performance of the Wild West Show. Even today, the bar remains the hotel’s pièce de résistance. Readers’ Choice: The Crystal Palace/Tombstone, AZ
Best Saloon Frequented by an Old West Icon
The Crystal Palace
It doesn’t get more authentic than this. The Earps, Doc Holliday and anyone who was anybody regularly drank at the Crystal Palace. It was the place to be seen in old Tombstone. Set ’em up!
Best Western Saloon to Get Smashed In
The Buffalo Chip Saloon
Cave Creek, Arizona
The Buffalo Chip is one of the last truly great cowboy saloons. Patrons regularly ride their horses to the bar for an evening of hard liquor, hot women and great music. This official rodeo bar for the local Fiesta Days Rodeo has been a cowboy watering hole for almost 50 years. Readers’ Choice: Big Nose Kate’s Saloon/Tombstone, AZ
Best Mountain Range—Large
Wind River Mountains
From history to spectacular scenery, the Wind River Mountains have it all. Jedediah Smith, Bill Sublette, Jim Bridger and a host of other mountain men found the Winds to be a beaver paradise. The range’s South Pass was the key to the Oregon and California Trails crossing the Continental Divide. And the headwaters of the Seeds-kee-dee—oops, we mean the Green River—are here.
Best Mountain Range—Small
Okay, we’ll admit the Pioneer Mountains made the “Best of the West” because our editor has climbed so many of the range’s peaks. Produced by Basin and Range faulting—if True West were a geology magazine, we’d explain that—the Pioneers are one of several small mountain ranges that surround Sun Valley, Idaho, and make the vacation mecca so spectacular.
Best Old West Trail
Santa Fe Trail
The Oregon Trail may have carried more people, but the Santa Fe Trail is older—by nearly 20 years—having been opened by William Becknell, a merchant-trader, in 1821. Initially running from Franklin, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the trail earned its way into the “Best of the West” through its importance to Old West commerce. Soon after the trail opened, freight conveys were carrying upwards of a million dollars a year in Mexican silver and merchandise between Missouri and the Republic of Mexico’s northern outpost. Readers’ Choice: Santa Fe Trail
Best Scenic Road Trip Under 100 Miles
Ketchum, Idaho, to the Stanley Basin
This road trip through South-central Idaho is one of our favorites. From Ketchum, Idaho State Highway 75 heads north (for the most part), following the Big Wood River toward its source near Galena Pass—8,701 feet—where the highway drops into the Stanley Basin, home to the headwaters of the Salmon River, dubbed by William Clark as “The River of No Return.” And did we mention alpine peaks? The route snakes between the Boulder, Smoky, White Cloud and Sawtooth Mountains. Readers’ Choice: Highway 49/California
Best Scenic Road Trip Under 500 Miles
Yosemite National Park to Lone Pine, California
The drive from Yosemite Village alongside the Merced River will have you craning your neck as you attempt to take in the towering granite walls that define Yosemite Valley. Then as you climb along California State Highway 120 to Tuolumne Meadows and Tioga Pass—9,945 feet—you’ll wish you’d brought more film for your camera. Once on U.S. 395, heading south toward Lone Pine, you’ll think you’re in Switzerland as you gaze at the Sierra Nevada Mountains’ rugged eastern escarpment. Readers’ Choice: Beartooth Highway/Near Red Lodge, MT
Best Beef Jerky
El Reed 1870s Terlingua Beef Jerky
This stuff’s so tasty, our mouths are watering as we write this. The recipe for El Reed’s jerky was handed down to Stiles Belcher from his great-grandfather, Texas cattleman and gunfighter Aaron “El” Reed (whose story was published in the Aug. 1976 True West).
Best Cowboy China
“Rodeo Pattern” Dinnerware
Royse City, Texas
Serve a meal on these rustic Western place settings or, if you’ve got the collector’s bug, invest in this heirloom-quality china for the future. The Rodeo Westward Ho was the most popular pattern of the Wallace China Company, which produced it in the 1940s-1960s. Its collectible status resulted in the 1990s reproduction of this rodeo set that no Western family’s dinner table should be without. And no, we at True West magazine don’t make it. Readers’ Choice: True West’s “Rodeo Pattern” Dinnerware
Best Desert Critter to Sink its Fangs Into You
Last year the gila monster won, but then our readers pointed out that gilas don’t have fangs. So, in an effort to be accurate—we are True West after all—we thought we’d pick a critter with hypodermic needles for teeth. Fearsome . . . when one of these babies sets to buzzin’, octogenarians have been known to jump higher ’n a split-rail fence. Readers’ Choice: Diamondback Rattlesnake
Best Old West Coffee Company
New Mexico Piñon Coffee
Albuquerque, New Mexico
With its coffee beans carefully roasted in a small-batch roaster, it’s no wonder the New Mexico Piñon nut and five-bean blend of Arabica coffee is recognized as unique in 11 countries (including the U.S.). New Mexico’s Piñon tree is often called the Manna of the Desert, perhaps because there’s an aphrodisiac quality inherent in the nut. Readers’ Choice: Arbuckles’ Coffee
Best Place to Find an Antique Watch
Old Time Antique Pocket Watch
Red Wing, Minnesota
We love this place so much, the True West staff got its favorite boss a seven-jewel, circa 1918 Waltham from here. (If you ever meet Bob Boze Bell, be sure to ask him for the time.) Re-enactors, SASS and CMSA members often purchase Old West-era pocket watches, not only to add to their costumes’ authenticity, but also to own a genuine piece of history.
Best Rocky Mountain Oysters—Bulls ‘n’ Beyond
Rock Creek Lodge
Near Clinton, Montana
Hispanic cowboy at Texas’ King Ranch asks a Boys’ Life reporter while throwing certain body parts of unfortunate male cattle into a Hefty bag: “You ever try a Rocky Mountain oyster?” Boys’ Life reporter: “Uh, no.” Cowboy: “Man, that’s the best eating in the world.” Boys’ Life reporter: “I’ll take your word for it.” Rock Creek Lodge’s Testicle Festival allows over 15,000 visitors to gobble up 1.5 tons of the aforementioned delicacy. Readers’ Choice: Proud Cut Saloon/Cody, WY
Best Western Action Figure
Mark Twain Caricature Figurine
Although Dog Soldiers specializes in authentic American Indian 12-inch action figures, the whimsical five-inch Mark Twain caricature figurine is our favorite. They also have other figures for the kid in you, including a Chiricahua Apache War Leader and an 1870s Buffalo Soldier. Readers’ Choice: Johnny West by Marx Toys/Sebring, OH
Best Western Auction
Greg Martin Auctions
San Francisco, California
Greg Martin Auctions—started in 2002 by three former members of Butterfields Auctions—offers over a century of combined auction and appraisal experience. The firm specializes in weapons, armor and historic memorabilia, and recently sold a Colt Model 1849 pocket revolver for a $740,000 bid. Readers’ Choice: (Tie) Brian Lebel’s Annual Cody Old West Show & Auction/Cody, WY and Little John’s Auction Service/Orange, CA
Best Western Mythical Creature
Last fall, Dr. Jane Goodall announced on NPR that Bigfoot exists because Native Americans mention the same sounds when describing him, and London’s Natural History Museum couldn’t identify what British scientists believe to be a Bigfoot hair. (To her credit, Goodall did admit that it’s the romantic in her that wants to believe.) Readers’ Choice: Jackalope
Best Wyatt Earp Collectible
Gold Plated 1873 Colt .45 Revolver
Fort Collins, Colorado
The first in their gunfighter series, this is truly a work of art. The heirloom piece is layered in 24-karat gold and nickel silver, with walnut laser-carved grips and the images of Wyatt and the men who fought beside him near the O.K. Corral. Now if Wyatt Earp had been packing a gold plated hogleg in 1881, he and the McLaurys may really have had something to fight about.
Best Indian War Chief
Geronimo did it all. He was tough, shrewd, a survivor of many ambushes and once outran (on foot) a mounted Mexican militia all the way back to his home in Arizona. Late in his career, he led almost the entire U.S. Army on a wild goose chase all over Mexico and never was captured. True, he surrendered on four different occasions, but it was always on his terms. Readers’ Choice: Crazy Horse
Best Mountain Man
He scouted the Louisiana Purchase and Pacific Northwest with Lewis and Clark. He trapped the headwaters of the Missouri River. He’s credited with being the first white man to see the geysers of Yellowstone National Park. He outran the Blackfeet in a race for his life. And unlike some other famous mountain men, John Colter died at home in bed—of jaundice. Readers’ Choice: Jim Bridger
Best Old West Lawman
Wild Bill Hickok
Wild Bill Hickok pinned on the star and held his own in hellholes such as Hays City, Wichita and Abilene. These towns were as rough as they come and Hickok handled them all with style, aplomb and an even hand. Our hats are way off to you Bill (even though your name was James). Readers’ Choice: Wyatt Earp
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