The Man and the Legend
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
456 Pages | 5 x 8 | 71 b&w illus., 1 map
The colorful figures of the western American frontier, the Indian fighters, the mountain men, the outlaws, and the lawmen, have been romanticized for more than a hundred years by writers who found it easier to invent history than the research it. "Bat" Masterson was one such character who cast a long shadow across the pages of western history as it has been routinely depicted.
"A legend in his own time," he was called in a television series produced in the 1960's. A legend he has become—one firmly fixed in the popular imagination. But in his own time W.B. Masterson was a man, a less-than-perfect creature subject to the same temptations and vices as his fellows, albeit one who, through circumstance and inclination, led an exciting life in an exciting time and place. As buffalo hunter, army scout, peace officer, professional gambler, sportsman, promoter, and newspaperman, Masterson's career was stormy and eventful.
Surprising to many readers will be the account of Masterson's career after his peace officer days, during his employment as a sports writer and columnist. The gun-toting western peace officer reputed to have killed more men than Billy the Kid (not so, says DeArment) spent his last years happily in New York City, writing for a nationally known newspaper.
This book, the product of more than twenty years of research, separates fact from fiction to extricate the story of his life from the legend that has enmeshed it. It is the most complete biography of Bat Masterson ever written.