Son of the Old West

Son of the Old West

by Nathan Ward
Son of the Old West

Son of the Old West

by Nathan Ward


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An epic narrative of the Old West told through the vivid, outsized life of cowboy, detective, and chronicler Charlie Siringo

No figure in the Old West lived or shaped its history more fully than Charlie Siringo, as Nathan Ward reveals in his colorful portrait of this epic era and one of its primary protagonists. 

Born in Matagorda, Texas in 1855, Charlie went on his first cattle drive at age twelve and spent two decades living his boyhood dream as a cowboy. As the dangerous, lucrative “beeves” business boomed, Siringo drove longhorn steers north to the burgeoning Midwest Plains states’ cattle and railroad towns, inevitably crossing paths with such legendary figures as Billy the Kid, Bat Masterson, and Shanghai Pierce. In his early thirties he joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency’s Denver office, using a variety of aliases to investigate violent labor disputes and infiltrate outlaw gangs such as Butch Cassidy’s train robbing Wild Bunch. As brave as he was clever, he was often saved by his cowboy training as he traveled to places the law had not yet reached.

Siringo’s bestselling, landmark 1885 autobiography, A Texas Cowboy, helped make the lowly cowboy a heroic symbol of the American West. His later memoir, A Cowboy Detective, influenced early hard-boiled crime novelists for whom the detective story was really the cowboy story in an urban setting. Sadly sued into debt by the Pinkertons determined to prevent their sources and methods from being revealed, Siringo eventually sold his beloved New Mexico ranch and moved to Los Angeles, where he advised Hollywood filmmakers, and especially actor William S. Hart, on their early 1920s Westerns, watching the frontier history he had known first-hand turned into romantic legend on the screen.

In old age, Charlie Siringo was called “Ulysses of the Wild West” for the long journey he took across the western frontier. Son of the Old West brings him and his legendary world vividly to life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802162083
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/05/2023
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 85,047
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

NATHAN WARD is the author of The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett, which was nominated for the Edgar and Anthony awards, as well as Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront. He has written for the New York TimesWall Street JournalCrimereads, and Westword and was an editor at American Heritage Magazine for several years. Though he lives in Brooklyn, NY, he has had a lifelong interest in the American West and its history. 

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