tv Dodge City CSPAN April 1, 2017 7:00pm-7:55pm EDT
about the authenticity kansas and brcs thrilled about that i want to give you some of the accolades he has received some said it is a must have for history books another said for lovers are those who have banned it should covet this nonfiction book the former mayor of dodge city and chairwoman of terror is - - tourism agreed i think it is very high praise that she said this will enjoy this book even if your read history it will adjust flaw along. tom clavin is of number one year times bestselling author working with the newspaper and a magazine writer and reporter for the
new york times has received words from society as a professional journalist and the national newspaper association including the heart of everything that is witches of book about red cloud and i think one of the reasons that it flows so well with some of narrative is so compelling because he does have the chops. look at the stack of books so is my great pleasure to introduce tom clavin. [applause] >>. >> i appreciate being here is a great privilege with everybody showing up how
generous of them to be here i am fascinated by a reader's - - shoppers seeking give a good talk because we spend almost all of our time talking to ourselves only occasionally allowed so to make that transition to be in a room by yourself and then interacting with people will do the best that i can so what helps is to make notes and prepare a at a time so that a sitting here thinking to take the notes to throw them down there a smile to you how the book came about and some of the stories and see what questions you have
a head done several books with a co-author were was a wonderful writer we had done a book with the part of everything there is it is about the of lakota sioux indian leader the only one that was led to defeat not just of battle but that is what the book was about me feel very fortunate the book sold very, very well we did that with simon & schuster and wanted to write another book about the american blast the my co-author of publisher said we're looking
to come back to the 20th-century do have any good world war ii stories? so that is the book that we did but while working on that i could not shake the ada to go back to the west sometimes the way i find ideas is by trolling around i remembered i heard about it i did not know when it was in iran across a couple things to research the life and that intrigued me because the majority of people with the immediate name recognition had you know, what that was like? those of us of a certain age remember and some of us may
called inventing t6 all of the myths perpetrated over the years but started to put somebody elements to gather but we do know about the tombstone wyatt earp at the o.k. corral and almost no age wyatt earp if you think of all of movies better done to my darling clementine and harry fonda was probably in his foreign -- 40's amber lancaster played by kirk douglas and then you have kevin costner and kurt russell playing wyatt earp so is just like it was before eddy okay corral i
started to put these pieces together for get tombstone was his life like before and had it turned out that as a young man would die at the same time website not saying nothing has ever bed written the issue can find articles but i started to get more and more into it and unfortunately the press said to the book on your own bin tell the story so that was the three-year project reason why it took three years that was the easy part was started to write it went very swiftly because i just
wanted to tell one story after another to have a read like a novel so somebody concerned that next chapter of but the research was so laborious and time consuming there's a lot of the tall tales about iconic western figures that is easy to find and that is the problem if he does want to write? nbc just take what is perpetrated but i did not want to do that and that the real story of wyatt earp was just as exciting than the of
myths that have spent perpetrated in his later years with the newspaper headlines referred to as being bloodthirsty because he killed 22 men dead is not true but that was the kind of guy to be reluctant to burst anybody's bubble allotted people don't know what it was light because it was so remarkable the last few years of his life spent as a newspaper reporter for the new york telegraph he wrote about sports he would write three columns per week
because he loved boxing and then at night with a full-court people bled, from out-of-town and one of his proteges was a man named david runyon and eventually his story was "guys and dolls" that was his tribute who taught him how to be a newspaper reporter and then everyone some while somebody comes to new york with the hands were dripping with blood so they would they please so imagine the big
shot would-be if i would tame the last then i got to the price to say okay. don't tell anybody it did this then he wed for covert of money and then you put 22 notches in the gulf 45 so these are all fascinating to me so i said want to tell of story of young wyatt sharp and then as young men were not choirboys.
they had to figure out if i am a good guy or bad guy? it could go either way and it did i also discovered because wyatt earp is portrayed in popular culture that he knew what was right and wrong he was rather tragic and flied type of figure until he got to wichita which is where he be deemed to self. because before the team is just coming out of prison to be a horse thief i will tell you the story of little bet without detail but bordon illinois won the 10 children
his father was very familiar with the of law and inside of the jail cell one of his patients was the moonshiner zero is going back and forth looking for a place to call home when his older brothers newton and james and virgil fought in the civil war but their father royce drag them back and after the civil war virgil went west the word for freight and the teamsters in the real accompanies bandwagon companies one of the myth of wyatt earp when he is portrayed walking into a bar to knock down a shot of whiskey to be a fighter even
with doc colonnade but it wyatt earp did not drink so despite his attempts to be acclimated he gave up occasionally have a glass of beer but then his family and uplifting in a more misery -- lamar misery while he was there he took the job as ever looking for a constable and he also fell and love in with of women and filled with decibel badly in love the course ship was brief and he bought property in she was pride pregnant he
was when to be a constable they would raise their kids his wife was eight months pregnant and she died in the baby died with her and he was crushedhe went on a downward trajectory he was arrested for robbery and not prepaying a loan he was getting into fights that have to bail him out and was arrested for a horse thief if we had never known him to become a famous outlaw but then he came to wichita to this one passage want to read i'd prefer to tell the
story because of this one this is where his life turned around. he finally arrived 1874 in wichita the town was at its peak of transporting cattle packing into railroad cars sendoff to the slaughterhouse of years for with the tall bating prairie grass his older brother james she operated a brothel and in the sense the occupation was listed as sporting the saloons were springing up on every corner officials went so far to post signs that everything
goes to wichita walking into the dry air at night with a sense of the year and whiskey and then when gone too long between about. coming from the background and laughter were a fight broke out. he could not spend his money in jail young women in fluffy dresses and in which a top prostitution was legal the city was the new reputation wichita represents a hell after sundown harlots and hack drivers cursing and yelling and cracking their whips and
as the females have their smiles and foot and by the men and so there you have it wichita. [laughter] lot of people could see the and edges of that type of economy but they also worried about descending into chaos there was of a guy there who became a marshal and another manager jim smith to work for the police force in wichita then became a full-time member of the police department he saw himself as a bad bet it was
okay because he lost his wife he started to care about things again and startedto take seriously the idea he wanted to be on the right side of the law. he was not quietude also be an act of bouncer with his brother at the brothel but he was seeing a different way of life there was an election going on as the men that were trying to become the new marshall and during the campaign and why it beats him up he did not make it and was reelected but to say we cannot have somebody
was to enforce a lot to beat people up industry so he was fired so that is when he got the offer to move to dodge city come here and check out so is this so interesting there were six brothers and a lot of times they would work together. and why it worked for the of martial and jim masterson but also work and so did virgil but he was one of seven children and it was reported that he was
canadian that he and never been to or confirmed he should not have been elected to office so only many years later but this family and the bin kansas outside of wichita his father ran the farm and his brother was the older brother and came back he was very mild mannered the family always thought he was too nice to survive sinuous boast to look after his brother he heard there was a lot of money to make so he was persuaded to come with him but they would pay
well you can scan the buffalo and make the money during one of those early years he met wyatt earp later they would say that is the nine met each other and immediately became friends he did buffalo hunting for a while then became an army scout and the movies of the searchers with john wayne where they try to fight -- find natalie wood's he was only 20 as an army scout the parents were killed and the daughters were kidnapped one
band to two of the daughters and went after them but it took a year but eventually he tracked down the band of indians and brought them back that was part of the ventures that they had also the of battle of the adobe wall as they attacked the group of comanche's but 10 years later that was the group of people with their hoping to put a settlement there in the trading post for people there were only 30 of us but what they did not realize they were entering the territory
controlled by a their partner that was the great comanche leader said to get those warriors together because we cannot let them take root here so there was a huge battle so one of the survivors and the hero's state isn't texas that later became sweetwater and then he falls in love and to one girl named tamale brennan
who knows what different course of life that would have taken but all these people were in love with molly brennan besides being kicked out for being violent he was drunk one night and came to the saloon with a gun and shoots and wounds him in the groin that is why he forever carries a cane because of his injury because he was going to fiery again so then they take the bullet and is killed and then he takes the did not to kill sergeant dean and it was a miracle that was the only thing that saved him he was grieving
and they said to him come to dodge city it is a happening place. [laughter] so he goes to digest city basically he is reunited with his friends with wyatt earp and their career began the was happening in dodge city was the real road and they started to explode because all of ranchers have the cattle drives they get to dodge city the railroad was there they put the cattle on the train to go to the slaughterhouse in chicago and a lot of money to be made suddenly dodge city was expanding by leaps and bounds and that the end of the trail with the
saloons and brothels people were starting businesses and dodge city became a place that they came to webcast through including the outlawed because the violence was breaking out people would carry guns because a lot of liquor was consumed a lot of life in a small place in the more forward thinking people said we have to do something about this the first year 15 people were killed and we cannot have that people not want to raise their families and it got the reputation the worst town in america and west so uc in separate cisco and chicago won story
and said would you be interested to working, and looking for a fresh start. you know, he basically got kicked out of wichita and he said sure, i'll try it and he became assistant marshal and soon after here comes limping into town but they needed another deputy, so with that, let's work together. and that's where this whole other phase of the book begins but they were represented it was
charlie basset and bill tillman and other good lawman. but what i found fascinating about that, i mean they were best friends. they had each other's back. they trust each other completely. they -- they had both in their 20s. when a couple of years got elected and got elected the sheriff newly incorporated and he was 22 years old. that's all and what really intrigued me was that here are two guys not educated men. intelligent to some extent, yes. but they -- they basically found themselves at the forefront of trying to impose or create a system of law and order on the frontier. whatever they could do was a good chance to translate elsewhere top the other frontier towns and work at dock city it might elsewhere. if they fail in dodge city it
wot happen elsewhere too. and they were not -- you know, there was no -- like i said there was no marshal school. there was no sheriff academy. they basically to within themselves support each other a reason to do their thing and that was toot the road i thoughting to do the right thing to build school, churches, that they could businesses could thrive. that there was -- there was a part of them -- i don't think that either one would have articulated it but a part of them that realized that what they could do with dodge city is sort of like the pooch of america, future of the american westing and again if you ask to write a essay about this they would have is looked at the you like you had three heads. but they started to enforce the law. now law sometimes the lay was vague and sometime it is didn't exist and sometimes judges didn't exist.
but the way and why it said that way that i got hired not to -- kill people. i got hired to not kill people. they took very seriously being called peace officers that it was very important to them. now they have to do -- make dodge city a peaceful place and not by killing people. so the myth that sprung up later about people shooting down and being faster on the draw of bad guys completely untrue there was an economic reason for it. as you can imagine being a lawman that did not pay very well. you know there's no ira. there's no medical benefits. but the -- supplemented their income by the justice system such it was paid0 per arrest you didn't get money if they died but put them in jail and then you got paid. so what they had to do was to figure out how to make money and do the right thing and enforce
the law. there was a practice called buffaloing, and expert called it other lawman. now wyatt 6 foote tall and today don't consider that a tall person but you're talking about the 1870s that was taller than average person and so what he thought something might go the wrong way crack somebody on the top of a head with his gun knocked the guy out. woke up with a headache in jail, got dragged before the judge paid his fine and off he wents. so it was actually quite rare that there was a -- gun play that there was an actual, actual shootout. i'll tell you one exception that happened, let me two stories that sort of -- juxtapose there was a guy named george, cowboy that was shooting up the town, and wyatt, and one of bass brothers jim, confronted him and told him to get out of
town and he didn't listen. and he shot the place some more and they started to head out of town and wyatt shot at him and hit him supposedly his wife that got him, and he later died. the only time as a lawman that wyatt killed somebody was one instance, and so some time later a guy named clay ellison came to town and clay ellison called a shootist some of us know a john wayne movie by that name but they called certain gunman especially the more expert one shootists in those days and clay ellison had a terrible reputation and trnl guy and he came to dodge city to kill. and revenge for his friend george. so he's walking around town with guns, everything saying where's wyatt and wyatt appears in town so wyatt finds him and confronts him and there's a standoff there -- and basically the conversation
was clay ellison says i'm here for you wyatt and wyatt saying -- i think the best thing you should do is get on your horse. turn around and leave because this is not going to end well and what neither one of them knew it was that he had heard about this and few door waysdown with a shotgun and later said if he killed wyatt i was going to kill him until they had each other's back but clay ellison rode out of town. the personality, and the idea that i'm not going to let you come to shoot up this town was a kind of a turning point. now, there was an example of a different way to do things, of course, that shotgun too but they think they've gone south. [laughter] would have been nasty. but the other -- other time that there was actually a shootout and it was one of the major events in dodge city at the time it led to what was the biggest funeral dodge city had seen at that point when
that sheriff for county, his brother ed, was -- was made marshal of dodge city, and he was actually in a shootout that will had took several monthses to recover are. and then back on the job again, there was sounds of shots fired on the other side of front street. so that excuse me, ed masterson ran over there and there was a bunch of drunken coboys and couple of them had guns and some imposessed no guns. okay, you leave your gun outside or come in with a gun you have to give it to the bar tender and come you leave it. so they've got the guns, so that sets them, you know, you have to give your gun to the brerpd and could have been a standoff but they say okay so gun to the bar tender. meanwhile somebody had run back at the sheriff office and said your brother is taking these guys on, they're bunch of cowboys, they're drunk, with
guns -- this could be a problem. so that -- you know, strapped on his gun and went running over there and left the saloon, and he hears a noise behind him and turns around and two guys they got their guns again. and i have to take your guns an one put the gun up against them and shot. and he was so close to not on the shot but immorlings wound. but his vest went on fire. so he staggered away with a wound on fire -- went back and comes around corner and he sees what's going on and two guys he takes out his guns and shoots him down. one died other one survivorred but five months later and they buried ed, and in dodge state biggest funeral city had seen in its history, and there was one ever those actually a rare example of that kind of violence that broke out. that just couldn't help himself. but that was also a turning
point because there were a total of five cowboys who were part of that. and other three, the other three were right there, and that could turn his gun on him too. but he realized you know i've got a bad, i've got a responsibility even though my brother is dead right here, so he arrested them. put them to jail and wents before the judge so that was again a turning point there wasn't going to be murder in dodge city. even, though, nobody would have said he wasn't justified. so that and wyatt what each other's backs and focus a lot of character, and one of the things about dodge city they found that day, sort of like a ground zero people from all over the frontier had some kind of connection to passing through, with some kind of connection so that's why you'll find in the book -- there are detours to -- buffalo bill and billy the kid. bell star, the famous outlaws --
[inaudible conversations] and she had a very memorable entrance to dodge city. [laughter] that was tacked about for years, john leadly harden, theodore roosevelt makes an appearance in the book. and the time came when both wyatt bairvegly they say our job is done here. we're getting -- i can't, this young men. still want to make more of themselves in the world and wyoming wyatt wanted to get rich but never found it and wanted to make him a rich man but he got restless and decided to head to arizona to start a business in a place called tombstone and make a lot of money and off they went and decided i'm going to go to colorado to do gambling and lander a bit which is what he did, and so -- they wepght their separate ways. i can't say they stay in touch like each other not like they
e-mailed regularly but interesting to note when wyatt after the battle of the ok corral many of you are familiar when the vendetta but hay did not neat in tombstone but dock an wyatt met when wyatt was in dodge city and he came there looking for wyatt protection because he had a posesy after him and big nose kate, his girlfriend explained in the book why she's called that so that's how they met so their friendship began in dodge city. but -- after the birth,, wyatt couldn't go back to arizona, he looked out back and in colorado went to stay with him for a while but he needed to restore him back to some kind of sanity after the bloodshed that had been -- ed this happened with his van --
and then in 1883 they get telegrams from a guy named lew short, and he was in dodge city and they were treating him really bad. there was a new administration in there that dodge city wanted to go back to wild west wicked days, and a lot of people didn't like that. but they were being railroaded, intimidated and luke was thrown in jail and he said to wyatt that we need, i need you. i need your help had. so wyatt actually said you know what, let's go back to dodge city and if we have to clean it up again, we will. they weren't lawmen. they were not elected or thinking. but excuse me. they put on their gun belts, and they each grabbed shotguns and they webts to dodge city and that's what became the dodge city war. now if you want to find out how it ended, of course, you have to read the book. [laughter] but with the last time that the two of them side by wngt bit street as peace enforcers in dodge city. this was in 1883.
the book does -- give us what alliance were like. wyatt and his fourth wife at the ends of the book wyatt had a complicated domestic life. he had four wives. couple of whom were concurrent. [laughter] it was different in that way first of all he didn't -- he didn't get married. you know, he had romances. but he didn't go far mowf to actually marry them so wyatt had a romance felt like he had to marry them but at that point with a manager in colorado he fell in love with one of the actresses there and married and got together for next 30 years for the rest of his life. and wyatt fourth wife wandered around and -- in arizona and california and in alaska.
they were constantly looking for nevada, constant isly looking for that business that was going to make him a lot of money and lived in san diego for a while and wyatt last years were spent in hollywood. he lived until 1929 an in his last years, he was among other things, he was a consultant to a young director of silent western maimed john ford that's how he finished out husband days that as i mentioned he wandered around a lot and what he turned 50 still serving a as lawman in different capacities. he had met teddy roosevelt when he came out to be a rancher for a couple of years in the dakotas, and ultimately failed a big part with a terrible winter there that wiped out his cattle but good friends and roosevelt was president and he contacted roosevelt therm staid in touch with each other. i got to get out of here afraid one young man will kill me just
because he wants to make a reputation. and so roosevelt comes to new york i'll make you a -- u.s. marshal. okay so got on a train and went to new york to start life over again. there for a little while and then man i think joseph lewis was the name publisher of the new york telegram said do reporting and write a column about sports, write about theater, whatever you want and that's how spent the last 15 years of his life as a newspaper reporter. and in fact, he had i think every, every journalist dream to been out the night before at the saloon. had a great idea for a column and came in the next morning, and finished his column about noon that day. typed the left word. slumped over a typewriter and died. and he's buried in the bronx. [laughter] wyatt is buried at a cemetery in california. so when --
i can't say -- i started writing as a book to me it came very swiftly because i had spent three years almost three years sifting through all of the clift conflicting accounts reading outs tall tale and like prospecting. sifting, maybe if you're lucky at the end of that day there were a couple of mug ets in there to rely on. it was definitely a book you couldn't write fast like i said because, you know, you can take the easiest stuff and low it in there. but wanted to write a book that i hoped would be exciting. full of stories. full of action and adventure and a accident ploit of iconic characters in our american history. so also was as ac as i could make and delighted to discover me anyway what really happened as a true character of these people especially wyatt and doc, and bat. were just as interesting if not more so -- than the tall tale that sprung up around.
so i like to think that you don't have to feel guilty reading this book. sort of like oh, this is entertaining but it is probably a lot of bs. i shouldn't be reading this stuff. [laughter] i hope you find it entertaining but it -- it really the great effort was made to make this as authentic as possible, and i really do think that -- that you'll enjoy it and thank you for listening to me as long as you have. i'd be happy to answer any questions that you may have. so thank you very much. [applause] >> what's the mechanism to ask questions -- >> microphone. there it is behind that gentleman, so i guess if you have any questions you have to make your way over there or talk really, really loud. oh -- okay. yes, sir.
[inaudible conversations] >> dodge city in those days? >> dodge city i'm not quite slur what to tell you as far as square yardage or footage -- >> population? >> under a thousand people. probably over time that expanded because i think it is kisser interesting and kind of symbolic that, you know, boot hill have been doing a good business for years. and the 1870s, and there was a little dark hue it was like one of the wooden crosses had to cross and die of led poisoning, but when they finally -- boot hill came to its conclusion was because they exhumed bodies and used that site to build a schoolhouse. and i thought that was very symbol egg because dodge city had reached that point where it needed a schoolhouse where there were enough families in there and this is people coming in -- and dodge city was making that transition especially after the dodge city war fell once and for
all. they made that transition and then it got to be a bigger city but you know still not a big city by any means. once the cattle business was over -- >> still smelled like cats. [laughter] >> not surprised. but -- that is sort of put a limit on economic expansion. but people started to do, farms grew up around dodge city and foundation different business and occupations. yes, other question. yes, sir. >> doing your research how do you separate fact from fiction? >> one of the things that -- that i did that i think helped is you try and go back to as close to the event as possible thankfully there's extensive archive of the dodge city times and four county globe, and i'm not saying that they were, you know, pure of surprise winning journalist working back then. but they were reporting what was going on -- weekly basis they were both
weekly what was going on weekly basis in dodge city. so you can have a pretty good sense of what actually was happening and if you found the story that says such and such happened in dodge city like in april of 1878 and nothing about it in either newspaper. it is probably didn't happen. why would they overlook something like that many? so there's memoirs that people did and autobiography, there was main man robert wright one of the first and became a successful businesspeople in dodge city, and he wrote extensively about -- dodge city's early days and he was prate authentic he didn't have access necessarily. he surprised in writing about dodge city. also you go by what other people have written about nots that much. robert whereby did a biography for example of stewart. but you -- dock holiday and other characters you start to compare
them and you go through and some things match up the right way. like okay, there seems to be enough evidence, enough supporting documentation this happened but not supporting be so there are times in the book i'll say you know, may not be exactly certain that this happened or happened in this way. but it probably did and then there's things that i don't even include to the book and say it didn't happen. there's kind of one exception if anybody has heard of the film named budline there's a story in the book that has been perpetrated in the movies and show a gun with a long special and the story was in 1876 ned a novelist, playwright who wrote in upstate new york, and is a story in 1876 so impressed with the efforts of wide open, and
some of the other deputies that he made the trip, he had the cult manufacturing company to make special bis toll with long birl and he presented it to them, and -- so that story has been perpetrated in book after book. nobody back east has ever heard of wyatt earth and that reputation was down the road. and the other thing is if you look at some of the other afnghts that he was doing at the time he was in new york. he didn't make the trip out to dodge city. he was writing plays and write plays that completely fabricated thing bs the west and one play that was kind of successful, the critics hated it but it was popular, and when will he was after a reporter asked him had about it. he wrote it in four hours and he said what took him so long? [laughter] other questions.
i know you're out there dying to know something. >> maybe anxious to start reading the book. [laughter] anyway if you don't have any other question, and you are interested in having a book signed, then i'm told that i'll be right there preservely after taking the sign down so you can see me. so don't bother with that man behind the curtain but happy to sign any copy that you have and been so gracious and thank you very much for being here. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you very much, tom. [applause] >> thank you all very much for coming. we have books for sale at the front desk and robyn is going to come along by row, and get you situated with your post-it notes for signing and we'll get this going as quick withly as we can. thank you very much. this time it and this of mo methodically and wonderfully.
thank you very much. let's give him another round. [applause] >> live sunday at noon eastern, investigative journalist and best selling author a annie is our guest on booktv indepght. >> from pentagon document what is is clear is that it is moving humans in the military environment toward being comfortable with this idea of merging man and machine. >> jacobson known for weapon and governmeec