Idaho, 1879. When the McCandles gang shoots up a small town, seventeen-year-old Joseph Roper decides to bring them to justice, alone. Decades later in 1938, he tells his story to an interviewer with the Federal Writers Project.
“A lot of people go to those moving-picture shows and think they’re seeing the real McCoy, but that’s not the way it was. You take a guy like William S. Hart, or that kid, John Wayne. They try to come off rough-barked, but they’re nothing but a bunch of lilies compared to men like Ian McCandles.
“I’ll tell you something else about those cowboy pictures. They’re clean, barely a smudge of dirt anywhere, but what happened out there in City of Rocks wasn’t clean. It was grimy and smelly and gut-numbingly cold. Men died, and when they did they didn’t just grab their chests and fall over. They got knocked down hard and the life spilled out of them like blood from a butchered hog. I guess I ought to know since I was there. Since it was me who did most of the killing that day.”
About the Author
Michael Zimmer, an American history enthusiast from a very early age, has done extensive research on the Old West. In addition to perusing firsthand accounts from the period, Zimmer is also a firm believer in field interpretation. He’s made it a point to master many of the skills used by our forefathers: he can start a campfire with flint and steel, and he can gather, prepare, and survive on natural foods found in the wilderness. Zimmer lives in Utah with his wife, Vanessa, and two dogs.