Signed First Edition
September 5, 2023 Publication Date
As Nathan Ward reveals in his evocative new book, no figure in the Old West lived or shaped its history more fully than Charlie Siringo. Born in Matagorda, Texas in 1855, Charlie went on his first cattle drive at age 11 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.