he-outlaws_robert-barr-smithIf you like shoot-’em-ups and have never heard of Tom Bell, Jeff Milton or Rufus Buck, then you might enjoy this modest volume. Robert Barr Smith’s The Outlaws: Tales of Bad Guys Who Shaped the Wild West covers many good guys and bad guys, and with reasonable accuracy.

More discerning readers might, however, resent the abrupt accounts of some noteworthy careers (among them, Bob Paul’s and John Slaughter’s) and the inclusion of a “conmen” chapter, questionable in a book otherwise devoted to hardcore criminals. They might also wonder why the author chose to chronicle something he found so repellent, calling outlaws the “trash of the West” and “vicious, depraved and worthless.”

—William B. Secrest Jr., editor of Prodigal Sons: The Violent History of Christopher Evans and John Sontag, by Wallace Smith

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