Has there ever been a thorough book written on the commerce of the Old West?

ask-the-marshallPatrick Wheaton

Camby, IN

I called James Denniston in Jackson, Wyoming, who specializes in books on the Old West, and he suggests The Plains Across by John Unruh; Entrepreneurs of the West by David Dary; and Commerce of the Prairies by Josiah Gregg. These are good, especially the Unruh book, which was written for his Ph.D thesis. He died at 39 and the book, published after his death by the University of Illinois Press in 1978, was considered for a Pulitzer in history.

Also Bob Boze Bell’s Wyatt Earp/Doc Holliday books have lists of prices of specific items. I’ve had good luck finding out about the cost and availability of things by going through books that publish old Sears Roebuck catalogs. I’ve also found lots of this kind of information in the Time-Life series on the Old West.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His books include The Arizona Trilogy and Law of the Gun.

If you have a question, write:

Ask the Marshall

PO Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327

or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@sccmail.maricopa.edu

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