Legends and Tales of the American West

Legends and Tales of the American West

by Richard Erdoes
     
 

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From Davy Crockett, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane to Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and Frank and Jesse James, here are more than 130 colorful stories of the pioneers, cowboys, outlaws, gamblers, prospectors, and lawmen who settled the wild west, creating a uniquely American hero and an enduringly fascinating folk mythology.

In this wonderfully boisterous…  See more details below

Overview

From Davy Crockett, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane to Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and Frank and Jesse James, here are more than 130 colorful stories of the pioneers, cowboys, outlaws, gamblers, prospectors, and lawmen who settled the wild west, creating a uniquely American hero and an enduringly fascinating folk mythology.

In this wonderfully boisterous treasury of tall tales, everyone and everything is larger than life and bragging is elevated into an art form.  Many of these stories are of real people and real events; more than a few, however, grew taller and funnier as they made their rounds from wagon train to campfire to rodeo to miners' quarters.  But even if it is far from established that Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett were able to kill three men with one bullet or subdue ferocious grizzly bears with their fists, they come vividly to life here as beloved characters who have become part of the fabric of the American imagination.

Part of the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Erdoes ( Lakota Woman ) recounts a rip-roaring assortment of legends and lore from the Old West. The characters that populate his tales are larger than life, emanating from a land larger still, with seemingly unlimited horizons. In fact, says Erdoes, ``the essence of American legends . . . is exaggeration,'' and this belief informs his stories of lost mines and mountain men, ghosts and gunfighters. A posse of heroes includes such luminaries as Billy the Kid, Paul Bunyan and Jim Bowie as well as lesser-known poker players, pioneers, prospectors et al. Readers may question the inclusion of multiple entries about men like Roy Bean or the wholly fictitious Deadwood Dick (a product of penny dreadfuls) while equally colorful and important figures (Bat Masterson, Poker Alice, Belle Starr) receive scant mention--some (Soapy Smith, Klondike Kate) none at all. Overall, the doings of women and minorities are underreported, and there are too few tales of Alaska and the Yukon for this volume to be truly representative of frontier folklore. Nevertheless, Erdoes successfully evokes an era when awaiting the word from the West was a national pastime, and shows us how and why legends are ``history turned upside down.'' (Sept.)
School Library Journal
YA-- Readers will be entertained by the exploits of such figures as Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Calamity Jane, Pecos Bill, and Jim Bowie. As is to be expected, the tales are frequently wild beyond belief; some are humorous; some are a bit frightening; all take readers into the world of the imagination. Erdoes does a nice job of categorizing the selections and providing extensive source notes.
From the Publisher
"You'll never find a better guide than Richard Erdoes to lead you through the mosaic of the American frontier.  The whole pack of our legendary past is crammed into this treasure box.
—Dee Brown, author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307801616
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/20/2011
Series:
Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
File size:
8 MB

Meet the Author

Richard Erdoes is co-editor of American Indian Myths and Legends and the author of, among many other books, Lakota Woman; Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions; and Saloons of the Old West.  He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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