History Features

A Brave New World

Aiattaua_Beautiful-Man_chief-of-the-MoapariatArizona evolved slowly before the American Civil War. The 1860 census reported a population of only 6,482 people with 4,040 listed as American Indian. Most of the 2,421 “white” population lived in one of Arizona’s two major settlements, Tucson and the area later known as Yuma.

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The 100 Best Historical Photos of the American Indian

Maj.-Lee -Moorhouse_Oregon’s-Umatilla-Indian-Reservation-in-1889_Bannock braves -Jim-Mukai-and-PongaAlfred Jacob Miller, George Catlin, John Mix Stanley and Karl Bodmer’s romantic illustrations of America’s frontier Indians were matchless eyewitness portrayals until the advent of the camera.

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Branded But Unbroken

Olive OatmanThe image of strong women pioneers and trailblazers of yesteryear has grown hazy in the decades since the mass migration west. For many, the type of woman who dared venture into the rugged frontier is relegated to two categories: the corset-wearing soiled dove with the heart of gold who entertained in saloons or the forlorn schoolmarm who struggled to educate a community caught in survival mode in a world without law and order.

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The Great McGinty

Billy McGinty was an unlikely hero. Only five feet, two inches tall, the sawed off bronc buster from Oklahoma Territory couldn’t march in step and was allergic to military discipline, but he turned out to be one heck of a fighting man. McGinty distinguished himself as a trooper with the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry—Rough Riders—during the Spanish-American War of 1898. Teddy Roosevelt said of McGinty, “we had no better or braver man in the fights.”

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When Billy the Kid Was Billie the Kid

The-Parsona-nd-the-put-law_billy-the-kid_anthony-dexterCasting a woman in a male role makes sense. After all, Linda Hunt won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for her performance as an Indonesian man in 1982’s The Year of Living Dangerously. Besides, look at that tintype of Billy the Kid and then read the descriptions of him: “slightly built and lithe,” “really girlish looking.” If you were making a movie called Billy the Kid, why not cast an actress in the lead role?

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