Monday, February 22, 2021


Post by Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author

Old stories. What is meant by that? We've all heard of Zane Grey, Bret Harte, even Ned Buntline. How about Andy Adams, Todhunter Ballard, B. M. Bower, or Owen Wister? We've heard of these writers, but how many have we read?

I love the old stories. The writing may be a bit old-fashioned, but the stories are quite nice to read. I remember reading Bret Harte's "The Luck of Roaring Camp" in school, along with Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog".  

Here is a link to a Ned Buntline story about Buffalo Bill courtesy of Google Books. Buffalo Bill

Edward Zane Carroll Judson aka 
Ned Buntline - from Wikipedia

The Guttenburg Foundation has digitally preserved some of Andy Adams's work that can be found here: Andy Adams  I suppose I have an affinity for some of Adams's work since he is buried in my adopted hometown.

Now if you want to have some real fun, read William MacLeod Raine. He also lived for a time in my adopted state. For a list of his work you can check out Wikipedia: Raine

Believe it or not, Andre Norton, SWFA Grand Master, Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, writer, also wrote a Western. (Actually many consider her "Beast Master" a Western, although it takes place on another planet)

Portrait of B. M. Bower, circa 1890
from Wikipedia

If anything, reading the stories written during and just after the settling of the west gives you a perspective on how things might have been or how the writers wished they could be. I've noticed that women were not the passive, stay-at-home save-me type women. In many of the early stories, the women were strong and capable. Of course, the men were strong and would save the day. 

If you get the chance, read some of the stories that were the beginnings of what we call 'Western Stories'. It is a wonderful and sometimes challenging exercise, but oh so fun.

There is also the book "Women Writers of the American West, 1833-1927" by Nina Baym, for anyone who would like to see what and how women told the stories of the life they were living. There is also the series "Covered Wagon Women" which is a compilation of diaries and writings of those early pioneers.

Whatever you choose, we have a lot to thank these early writers for. If it were not for them, who knows what we would be writing.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet

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