The must-have companion to Bill O'Reilly's historic series Legends and Lies: The Real West, a fascinating, eye-opening look at the truth behind the western legends we all think we know
How did Davy Crockett save President Jackson's life only to end up dying at the Alamo? Was the Lone Ranger based on a real lawman-and was he an African American? What amazing detective work led to the capture of Black Bart, the "gentleman bandit" and one of the west's most famous stagecoach robbers? Did Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid really die in a hail of bullets in South America? Generations of Americans have grown up on TV shows, movies and books about these western icons. But what really happened in the Wild West? All the stories you think you know, and others that will astonish you, are heresome heroic, some brutal and bloody, all riveting. Included are the legends featured in Bill O'Reilly's ten week run of historic episodic specials-from Kit Carson to Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok to Doc Holliday accompanied by two bonus chapters on Daniel Boone and Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley.
Frontier America was a place where instinct mattered more than education, and courage was necessary for survival. It was a place where luck made a difference and legends were made. Heavily illustrated with spectacular artwork that further brings this history to life, and told in fast-paced, immersive narrative, Legends and Lies is an irresistible, adventure-packed ride back into one of the most storied era of our nation's rich history.
About the Author
David Fisher is the author of more than twenty New York Times bestsellers and coauthor of Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies series. He is the only writer ever to have a novel, a work of non-fiction, and a reference book offered simultaneously by the Book-of-the-Month club.
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Bill O'Reilly's Legends & Lies
The Real West
By David Fisher
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2015 Warm Springs Productions, LLC LLC and Life of O'Reilly Productions
All rights reserved.
Traitor or Patriot?
As Daniel Boone approached his log cabin one October day in 1778, carrying fur and meat to take his family through the winter, he probably guessed something was wrong. Keenly perceptive and attuned to the rhythms of nature, he would have sensed the discord. His family came out to greet him, followed almost immediately by several stern-looking men. As Boone dismounted, one of them handed him a subpoena. Another man stepped forward, unrolled a scroll, and announced, "Daniel Boone, you are hereby formally charged with treason and shall face a court-martial ..."
No one embodied the spirit of the frontier more than Daniel Boone, who faced and defeated countless natural and man-made dangers to literally hand cut the trail west through the wilderness. He marched with then colonel George Washington in the French and Indian War, established one of the most important trading posts in the West, served three terms in the Virginia Assembly, and fought in the Revolution. His exploits made him world famous; he served as the model for James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales and numerous other pioneer stories. He was so well known and respected that even Lord Byron, in his epic poemDon Juan, wrote, "Of the great names which in our faces stare, The General Boon, back-woodsman of Kentucky, Was happiest amongst mortals anywhere ..."
And yet he was accused of treason — betraying his country — the most foul of all crimes at the time. What really happened to bring him to that courtroom? And was the verdict reached there correct?
Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania in 1734, the sixth child of Quakers Sarah and Squire Boone. His father had come to America from England in 1713. The Boones were known as thrifty, prosperous people. His cousin, James Boone, had a knack for numbers and eventually became known as "Boone, the Mathematician." But Daniel Boone did not find comfort in the classroom or with books. He had enough schooling to know how to sign his name, but his real education was learning the skills of survival on the frontier: He became an expert hunter, tracker, trapper, marksman, and trailblazer. It was said that no Indian could aim his rifle, find his way through a pathless forest, or search out game better than young Daniel Boone. He was hard to pin down to any one place; he always loved being on his own, away from the clatter of the cities.
When Squire Boone was "disowned" by the Quaker meeting for allowing his children to "marry out of unity"— meaning to marry non-Quakers — he moved his family to North Carolina. The Boones had only just settled there when the French and Indian War began in 1754. Young Daniel Boone served as a wagoneer in British major Edward Dobb's North Carolina militia. He marched with Lieutenant Colonel George Washington under the despised General Braddock in his disastrous effort to capture Fort Duquesne. When Braddock was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness, Washington took command and began building his heroic reputation. During the war, Boone first heard tell of a place the Indians called the Dark and Bloody Ground, a paradise that some people called Kentucke. An Indian trader named John Finlay had actually been there and was determined to get back. At that time, very little about the lands south of the Ohio River was known to the British, and Boone listened to these stories with excitement, his heart making the decision that he would go there.
A small group of extraordinarily courageous men risked their lives exploring and settling the American frontier. They were people who felt an urgent pull to see what lay beyond the next mountain and depended on their skills, wits, and sometimes just plain luck to reach the next summit. They were most at home in foreign and wild places, living off God's bounty. Many of these early American pioneers are forgotten, but through hundreds of years of American history, Daniel Boone has stood for them all.
It took Boone twelve more years to finally get to Kentucke, and by that time he had married his neighbor's daughter, Rebecca Bryan, and they'd had four children, in addition to taking in several nieces and nephews. He'd also explored the area called Florida (he reportedly bought land near Pensacola but elected not to settle there), as well as the unspoiled wilderness of the Alleghenies, the Cumberlands, and the Shenandoah Valley. In 1851, author Henry Howe described Boone's arrival in Kentucke, writing that his party, "after a long and fatiguing march, over a mountainous and pathless wilderness, arrived on the Red River. Here, from the top of an eminence, Boone and his companions first beheld a distant view of the beautiful lands of Kentucky. The plains and forests abounded with wild beasts of every kind; deer and elk were common; the buffalo were seen in herds and the plains covered with the richest verdure ... this newly discovered Paradise of the West." Daniel Boone was the first settler to set his eyes and bestow a name on many of the now familiar features of Kentucky. Like many frontiersmen of the time, as Boone explored, he carved his name into the trees to show he had been there, and a beech tree on the Watauga River in Tennessee still bears the inscription D. BOON CILLED A. BAR ON TREE IN THE YEAR 1760.
His first time in Kentucke, he stayed only long enough to know that he'd found the open spaces in which he wanted to raise his family. He returned in 1769 with five other men, blazing the first trail from North Carolina into eastern Tennessee. During that expedition, he spent two years there, twice being captured by Indians; the first time, he was set free, the next time, he escaped. As he later wrote, the Indians "had kept us in confinement seven days, treating us with common savage usage ... in the dead of the night, as we lay in a thick cane-break by a large fire, when sleep had locked up their senses, my situation not disposing me for rest, I touched my companion, and gentle awoke him. We improved this favorable opportunity, and departed, leaving them to take their rest, and speedily directed our course towards our old camp." His companion was his brother-in-law, John Stewart, who had been captured with him both times, but eventually Stewart's luck ran out. While out hunting one day, he was shot by an Indian raiding party and took refuge in a hollowed-out tree, where he bled to death; his body was found there almost five years later.
Boone would spend his winters hunting beaver and otter, and in the spring sell or trade the furs he had collected. In the summers he would farm and hunt deer, gathering meat for the winter and deerskins for trade. The value of these deerskins, or buckskins, fluctuated against the British pound and later the American dollar, and eventually buck became an acceptable slang term for "dollar."
Boone also made his clothes from the skins of the animals, and his buckskin shirt and leggings, moccasins, and beaver cap were the accepted dress of the frontiersmen.
In 1773, Boone decided it was time to move his family to Kentucke. He sold his farm and all his possessions and agreed to lead the first group of about fifty British colonists into the new territory. On the journey west, his son James trailed behind, bringing cattle and supplies to the settlements. On October 9, James Boone's small group was camped along Wallen Creek when Indians attacked. They had failed to take the necessary precautions and were defenseless. James and several others were brutally tortured and killed. Although Boone urged the rest of the settlers to push forward, this deadly attack frightened them into returning to civilization in Virginia and Carolina. He had no choice but to go back with them.
Boone was not a man who relished a fight, but he never backed away from one, either. In 1774, he led the defense of three forts along Virginia's Clinch River from Shawnee attacks and, as a result, earned a promotion to captain in the militia — as well as the respect of his men. While Boone proved to be one of the settlers' most ferocious fighters, he did understand the reason for the Indians' resistance and perhaps even sympathized with them, admitting that the war against them was intended to "dispossess them of their desirable habitations"— in simpler words, take their land.
His reputation was growing, the word spread by his admirers, who never hesitated to tell stories of his courage, even if some were a bit exaggerated. In 1775, the Transylvania Company, which had purchased from the Cherokees all the land lying between the Cumberland Mountains, the Cumberland River, and the Kentucky River, south of the Ohio, hired Boone to lead the expedition of axmen that carved the three-hundred-mile-long Wilderness Road through three states and the Cumberland Gap. It was this trail that opened up the frontier to the many thousands of settlers who would follow.
When Boone's men finally reached Kentucke, he laid out the town and fort of Boonesborough. During that journey, four men were killed and five were wounded by the increasingly hostile Shawnees. But Boonesborough and Harrodsburg, wrote Henry Howe, "became the nucleus and support of emigration and settlement in Kentucky." The settlers, including Boone's wife and their children, raced to erect fortifications strong enough to resist Indian attacks, and on May 23, 1776, the Shawnees attacked Boonesborough. They were repelled, but they would come back, and everybody knew it.
Less than two weeks later, the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, signed the Declaration of Independence. It would take more than a month for the settlers to learn of it. The coming war for independence did not really affect or concern them; they were already too busy fighting a war for their own survival. Boone was not a political man and did not strongly support either the Revolutionaries or the British. That was not a luxury he had time for. Life on the frontier was always a daily life-or-death struggle. Just about a week after the noble document was signed, for example, Boone's daughter, Jemima, and two other young girls were kidnapped by a Shawnee-Cherokee raiding party. He immediately gathered nine men and set off after them.
From all accounts, Daniel Boone was not a man of exuberant emotions. He kept his feelings contained and was respected for his cunning and his steadfast leadership. He was not a man who ever asked another to take a risk in his place. When a task needed to be done, he took the lead. The rescuers pursued the Indians for three days, finally sneaking up on them as they sat by a breakfast fire. Their first shot wounded a guard and alerted the others to escape. Two of the Indians were killed, and the three girls were freed without harm. This kidnapping and rescue later served as an inspiration for James Fenimore Cooper, who included a similar incident in The Last of the Mohicans, with the character Hawkeye modeled after Boone.
The Revolutionary War just brushed the frontier, and rather than facing the redcoats, the pioneers fought Native Americans supplied and supported by British forces headquartered in Detroit. It was questionable whether the Indians were actually fighting to protect the Empire or to maintain their own rights to live and hunt on the land. By 1777, Indians were focusing their attacks on Boonesborough, forcing the settlers to stay close to the fort. One afternoon, Boone was outside the perimeter when the Shawnees attacked. As Boone took up his long gun to return fire, a bullet smashed into his ankle and sent him to the ground. He was carried through the closing gate as Indian bullets ripped into the wooden walls.
The constant pressure of attacks kept the settlers confined, and by the end of the year, supplies were running low. In early February, Boone was asked to lead a twenty-seven-man expedition to the Blue Licks, a salt lick located several miles away. It was a very risky mission: Several weeks earlier, three Shawnee chiefs in captivity at Fort Randolph had been killed, and the tribe was seeking revenge. As Boone's men were gathering vital salt, he was alone, hunting for provisions — and he was surprised and captured by a Shawnee war party. More than one hundred warriors were led by Chief Blackfish, a man Boone had met decades earlier while serving in Braddock's campaign. Blackfish apparently respected Boone as the chief of his people and told him he intended to avenge the murders of the three Indian chiefs by killing everyone in the salt-gathering party, then destroying Boonesborough. Boone negotiated with him, finally offering to arrange the peaceful surrender of his men, who would then go north with the tribe. Chief Blackfish agreed.
Boone led the Shawnees to his hunting party — and when his men saw him with the Indians, they suspected that he had betrayed them and prepared to fight for their lives. "Don't fire!" Boone warned them. "If you do they will massacre all of us." He put his reputation on the line, ordering his men to stack their arms and surrender. In the confusion, some men escaped and hurried back to warn the settlers.
Daniel Boone and the remaining members of the expedition went north with the Shawnees to the village of Chillicothe, where there was great debate on how to treat the prisoners: Some of the braves wanted to kill them, but apparently Boone convinced them otherwise. As the weeks went by, he actually was adopted into the tribe and given the Indian name Sheltowee, or "Big Turtle." He was known to hunt and fish and play sports with the tribe, and there were even some stories that he took a bride. The Shawnees trusted him enough to take him to Detroit, where he met with the British governor Hamilton. But when he returned to Chillicothe, he found more than four hundred fifty armed and painted braves preparing to attack Boonesborough. He feared that the unprepared settlers would be slaughtered. Boone waited for the right opportunity, and in the confusion of a wild-turkey hunt, he managed to slip away.
He raced 160 miles in less than five days, on foot and horseback. He paused only one time for a meal. He reached Boonesborough still dressed in Indian garb, and his warning was met with great suspicion. The men who had escaped the original attack cautioned that he was cooperating with the Shawnees, pointing out that he had lived safely among the tribe for months and that he had returned while many of their relations remained captives. Finally Boone was able to convince the settlers to strengthen their wooden fortifications and, in an effort to prove his loyalty, suggested that instead of waiting for the attack, they take the offensive.
He and his friend John Logan led a thirty-man raiding party to the Shawnee village of Paint Creek on the Scioto River. After a trek of several days, they found it abandoned — meaning the main Indian force, then under the command of the Canadian captain Duquesne, was already on its way to the settlement. The raiding party made it back safely, and the cattle and horses were brought into the fort, which was made as secure as possible. Soon Boonesborough was surrounded by as many as five hundred Shawnee braves. British colors were displayed, and the settlers were told to either surrender, with a promise of good treatment, or fight and face the hatchet. Rather than fighting, Boone asked Captain Duquesne for a parley.
Boone and eight other men met with the Indians in a meadow beyond the settlement's walls. Eventually they reached an agreement: The Ohio River would be the boundary between the settlers and the tribes. As they shook hands, the Indians tried to grab Boonesborough's leaders and drag them away, but carefully hidden sharpshooters opened fire. Boone and his men retreated, and an eleven-day siege began. The enemy made several efforts to break into the fort, but riflemen inside the garrison released a steady stream of accurate fire on anyone who came within range. When the Indian force broke off the attack, thirty-seven braves had been killed and many more wounded, while inside the walls only two settlers had died and two were wounded. The resistance, led by Daniel Boone, had saved the settlement.
Excerpted from Bill O'Reilly's Legends & Lies by David Fisher. Copyright © 2015 Warm Springs Productions, LLC LLC and Life of O'Reilly Productions. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
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Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION BY BILL O'REILLY,
Daniel Boone Traitor or Patriot?,
David Crockett Capitol Hillbilly,
Kit Carson Duty Before Honor,
BLACK BART Gentleman Bandit,
Wild Bill Hickok Plains Justice,
Bass Reeves The Real Lone Ranger,
George Armstrong Custer A General's Reckoning,
Buffalo Bill And Annie Oakley The Radical Opportunists,
Jesse James Bloody Politics,
Doc Holliday Desperate Measures,
Billy the Kid Escape Artist,
Butch Cassidy The Last Man Standing,
About the Authors,