Cowboys, gunslingers, and superpowered marshals dominate fictionalized accounts of the American West, but they were minor figures in the true history of the region. In The Cattle Kings, Lewis Atherton restores the leading role to the cattlemen—the genuine adventurers who opened the plains, built empires, and brought prosperity, law, and order to the West.
This classic history of the West tells the true stories of rugged cattlemen like Charles Goodnight, Shanghai Pierce, the Lang family, the Marquis de Mores, and Richard King, who were attracted by the challenge of the frontier and the astounding economic opportunities it offered. Self-reliant and progressive, these young individualists revolutionized ranching. The new industry transformed the West, bringing law and order to infamous sin towns like Abilene and Dodge City and leaving an indelible mark on America's national history and character. Atherton dramatically recreates the realities and economics of everyday life on the ranches, including the role of women, attitudes toward education and religion, and the philosophy of the cattle region. Now with an updated foreword by Western historian Timothy Lehman, this new edition of a beloved classic reveals the true heroes of the legendary cattle kingdoms that created the West.