Ride the Devil's Herd: Wyatt Earp's Epic Battle Against the West's Biggest Outlaw Gang

Ride the Devil's Herd: Wyatt Earp's Epic Battle Against the West's Biggest Outlaw Gang

by John Boessenecker


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The little-known story of how a young Wyatt Earp, aided by his brothers, defeated the Cowboys, the Old West’s biggest outlaw gang.

Wyatt Earp is regarded as the most famous lawman of the Old West, best known for his role in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. But the story of his two-year war with a band of outlaws known as the Cowboys has never been told in full.

The Cowboys were the largest outlaw gang in the history of the American West. After battles with the law in Texas and New Mexico, they shifted their operations to Arizona. There, led by Curly Bill Brocius, they ruled the border, robbing, rustling, smuggling and killing with impunity until they made the fatal mistake of tangling with the Earp brothers.

Drawing on groundbreaking research into territorial and federal government records, John Boessenecker’s Ride the Devil’s Herd reveals a time and place in which homicide rates were fifty times higher than those today. The story still bears surprising relevance for contemporary America, involving hot-button issues such as gang violence, border security, unlawful immigration, the dangers of political propagandists parading as journalists, and the prosecution of police officers for carrying out their official duties. Wyatt Earp saw it all in Tombstone.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781335015853
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Publication date: 03/17/2020
Edition description: Original
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 83,402
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

John Boessenecker is the author of nine books, including New York Times bestseller Texas Ranger: The Epic Life of Frank Hamer, the Man Who Killed Bonnie and Clyde. He has received the Spur award from Western Writers of America, the Best Book award from Westerners International, and in 2011, 2013 and 2019 True West named him Best Nonfiction Writer. He has appeared frequently as a historical commentator on PBS, The History Channel, A&E, and other media. He lives near San Francisco, California.

Table of Contents

1 Devils from Hell: The Cowboys 11

2 Fighting Men: The Earp Boys 37

3 Blood on the Border 69

4 The Earps Come to Tombstone 105

5 Curly Bill Takes Charge 127

6 Death on the Tombstone Stage 152

7 Wanted Dead or Alive 175

8 Cowboys and Mexicans 196

9 Ride the Devil's Herd 216

10 The Fight Has Commenced 244

11 A Trial in Tombstone 267

12 The Cowboys Strike Back 287

13 Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal 308

14 Wyatt Earp, Frontier Vigilante 329

15 Curly Bill Cashes In 351

16 Last Ride of the Cowboys 376

17 The Sunset Trail 403

Appendix: The Cowboy Roster 437

Acknowledgments 441

Notes 445

Index 497

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