Oklahoma, when it was known as Indian Territory and after statehood in 1907, was a land where outlaws seemed to run wild, and enforcers of the law had a hard time keeping them under control. This entertaining book covers 100 years of history of outlaws and lawmen in Indian Territory and, later, the state of Oklahoma from 1839 to 1939. The authors in their introduction state that this book is a popular history of this subject and not an academic work. Many of their sources, they say, are reliable; they also say that some are not, while others cannot be verified.
The authors present known and lesser-known personalities on both sides of the law. Some of the outlaws include Rufus Buck and his gang, Thomas Starr, Belle Starr, Alvirado Hudson, Cattle Annie and Little Britches, Bonnie and Clyde, Billy the Kid and his gang, Pretty Boy Floyd, Cherokee Bill, Henry Starr, Barker gang, the Youngers, the Daltans, the Doolins, and many others. There is a profile of outlaws toward the end of the book. Some of the lawmen featured in the book are William Tilghman, James Franklin “Bud” Ledbetter, Christ Madsen, Judge Isaac C. Parker, and others.
The book has maps, endnotes, an extensive bibliography, an index, and black and white photos. The authors devote various chapters to specific topics like the bootlegging and illegal whiskey sale to Indians. A chapter on Billy the Kid and some of his gang members with Oklahoma connections is provided. Indian Territory was a great place for outlaws and others who simply wanted to be left alone. There were very few lawmen for the territory, and few people in the Territory asked questions about who their guests were in fear of being murdered or robbed. Heinous crimes like rape, though, could rouse the various communities against the perpetrators. Those interested in Oklahoma history, outlaws and criminal history will enjoy this book, and it is highly recommended to them.
Dan Anderson studied business at Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College in Miami, Oklahoma and studied history at Tulsa Community College. He is a former newswriter, photographer, feature writer and columnist. In addition to journalism, he has been involved in private security, a reserve police officer and a private investigator.
Laurence Yadon studied history at the University of Oklahoma under the author of Jesse James Was His Name, William Settle. He received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and is the owner of Mediation Dynamics, which specializes in mediation and arbitration. He has written three genealogical works prior to this book.