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National Geographic Society • 2002 • $17.95
ISBN 0-7922-8218-3 • 128 pages • Ages 10 & up

Skookum Jim, Big Nose Kate and Man-Afraid-of-His-Horses are names that could only belong to one place in time: the Wild West.

The era of westward expansion gave rise to a host of legendary characters and stories. In True Tales of the Wild West Paul Robert Walker shares ten of these stories to present a delightfully readable and entertaining history of the West, from Lewis and Clark’s descent of the Columbia River in 1805 to the Klondike Stampede in 1898. Along the way you’ll learn how a dead cow touched off 25 years of warfare between the U.S. Army and the Indians, see rugged mountain men line up for Bibles just to get a glimpse of Narcissa Whitman, discover that the shootout between the Earps and the Clantons did not take place in the O.K. Corral, and find out why bands played, cannons boomed, and bells rang in San Francisco two days before the transcontinental railroad was completed.

Walker combines his storytelling and research skills to bring each of these legendary characters and events to life. He has visited the sites, consulted with experts, and meticulously studied letters, journals, newspaper articles, and legal testimonies to peel away the myth from the legends and bring you True Tales of the Wild West.

The Tales

BIG RIVER • Lewis and Clark Descend the Columbia (1805)
NO WATER • Jedediah Smith Crosses the Desert (1826)
INDEPENDENCE DAY • Narcissa and Eliza Cross the Rockies (1836)
I HAVE FOUND IT! • James Marshall Discovers Gold (1848)
BLOOD ON THE TRAIL • The Grattan Fight (1854)
THEY'RE OFF! • First Ride of the Pony Express (1860)
A RAILROAD TO THE MOON • Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (1869)
WE SHOOT, WE RIDE FAST, WE SHOOT AGAIN • The Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876)
THROW UP YOUR HANDS! • Showdown in Tombstone (1881)
GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! • The Klondike Stampede (1896)