Hornswogglers, Fourflushers & Snake-Oil Salesmen: True Tales of the Old West's Sleaziest Swindlers

Hornswogglers, Fourflushers & Snake-Oil Salesmen: True Tales of the Old West's Sleaziest Swindlers

by Matthew P. Mayo

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Everyone loves a heel, especially one to whom nothing was sacred and who charmed his or her way into the hearts, minds, and wallets of bumpkins and belles alike. This collection offers twenty-four tales of petty bandits, sleazy bunko artists, and conniving conmen and –women who traveled West to seek their fortunes by preying on the men and women who went before them to settle and explore. These stories of who they were, what they did, and why they are remembered for their deeds include ample and engaging historic illustrations of the shady characters at work and at play.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762789658
Publisher: TwoDot
Publication date: 08/04/2015
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,119,540
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

 Matthew P. Mayo is a Spur Award-winning and Peacemaker Award-nominated writer whose novels include the Westerns Winters’ War; Wrong Town; Hot Lead, Cold Heart; and Dead Man’s Ranch. His critically acclaimed non-fiction books include Cowboys, Mountain Men & Grizzly Bears; Bootleggers, Lobstermen & Lumberjacks; and Sourdoughs, Claim Jumpers & Dry Gulchers (all Globe Pequot Press). He travels the west researching and writing with his photographer wife, Jennifer Smith-Mayo. Their home base is Box Elder, South Dakota.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

Chapter 1 Ned Buntline: Ail-American Huckster 1

Chapter 2 Soapy Smith: Skagways Slippery Sultan 13

Chapter 3 The Great Diamond Hoax of 1872: Diamonds Are for Swindlers 27

Chapter 4 Doc Baggs: Denver's High-End Huckster 40

Chapter 5 Clark Stanley: The Rattle-Snake King (and Others of the Snake-Oil Set) 52

Chapter 6 George Devol: King of the Riverboat Gamblers (plus Canada Bill!) 62

Chapter 7 James Addison Peralta-Reavis: Arizona's Lord of Fraud 72

Chapter 8 Alexander McKenzie: Biggest Claim-Jumper Ever 85

Chapter 9 Unhelpful Guides: Untested, Untrue, Unworthy! 95

Chapter 10 Death Valley Scotty: That Likeable Rogue 107

Chapter 11 The US Government: Shame, Shame, Shame 120

Chapter 12 AlSwearengen: Deadwood's Deadbeat 132

Chapter 13 Pegleg Smith: King of All Liars 143

Chapter 14 Sheriff Henry Plummer and His Gang of Innocents: Killers and Thieves 156

Chapter 15 Land Warmongers of Johnson County: Death of a Champion 168

Chapter 16 Dr. Samuel Bennett: King of the Thimble Riggers (and Other Sleight-of-Hand Men) 184

Chapter 17 Lou Blonger: Mr. Fix-It (and More Incurable Con Men) 196

Chapter 18 Land Ho!: Oregon's Land Fraud and the False Promise of Mowry City, New Mexico 208

Chapter 19 Mary Gleim: Missoula's Wicked Woman (and a Pair of Gamblin' Gals) 220

Chapter 20 Rustlers Galore!: Dutch Henry Born and Blackjack Nelson 231

Chapter 21 Old San Francisco: Sink Pit of Swindlers 247

Chapter 22 Dr. John R. Brinkley: Goat Glands and Radio Waves (and Another Conning Quack!) 263

A Brief Glossary of Swindling Lingo 278

Art and Photo Credits 281

Bibliography 284

Index 293

About the Author 303

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