Gangs of outlaws were overrunning Oklahoma Territory when E. D. Nix was appointed U.S. marshal in 1893. His memoir evokes a time and place that brought criminals and merchants and cowpunchers and settlers together, often explosively. Oklahombres, originally published in 1929, is an authentic history of human wildness. In these pages the Dalton brothers are shown in full career, as well as the Doolin gang, Bitter Creek Newcomb, Henry Starr, Cattle Annie, Rolla Kapp, Dick Yeager, the Jennings boys, and a large cast of cattle thieves, counterfeiters, and whiskey peddlers. Lawmen are no less memorable than the lawless: Bill Tilghman, Chris Madsen, and Heck Thomas are among the deputies who help Nix in his cleaning-up campaign. Adding to the richness of this account of early days in Oklahoma Territory are such personages as Judge Isaac Parker, Rose of Cimarron, and Chief Bacon Rind of the Osage Indians.Nix himself emerges as a public official of great integrity. Because of his adherence to a code of honor, he could later say that during his administration "not a single man was killed who was not a notorious lawbreaker." Perhaps his proudest moment came when he fired the gun that sent homesteaders rushing into the Cherokee Strip on September 16, 1893. That scene, described with cinematic vividness, is one of many high points in Oklahombres.
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