By junior high, I discovered that at least one research paper per year had become de rigeur and I found myself most interested in the First People of America as my subject of research. I wrote papers on Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and Geronimo to name a few. I had little interest in the White Man’s history of Western expansion – I understood at an early age that the United States government committed centuries’ long genocide in the name of Manifest Destiny – because I never felt there was anything honorable or interesting about it.
But I had read Tom Clavin’s The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend – a biopic about Red Cloud, one of the most powerful chiefs of the Oglala Sioux and a contemporary of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse – and decided to give a pass at Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West.
To keep it short and simple, the book had too many players with a narrative that went back and forth in time without a clear through-line. I’m sure it didn’t help that as a result of my waning interest, I read four other books while slowly tackling Dodge City. I did enjoy learning about Bat Masterson and several other contemporaries of Wyatt Earp whose stories have not carried the same mystique and have been obscured by the annals of time.
If you like the legends of the gunslingers of the Wild West, you may find Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West interesting.