Get a Free Old West CD With a Photo

COW PictureRichard Smith sent Chronicle of the Old West this picture.  The note that accompanied the picture said, “I started my printed newspaper last month, I enjoyed the articles.  I shot this photo today.  Thought you might enjoy it.”

We do enjoy it.  Richard also said we could use the picture as we wish.  And we will be using it.

This got us thinking.  There are probably other people who are creative with a camera who would like to take pictures that include Chronicle of the Old West as a central element.

We’ll be sending Richard one of our story CD’s as a thank you.

Anyone else who sends us a picture we can use will also get a story CD as a thank you.

So, go out there; take a picture with Chronicle of the Old West as a central element; and send it via email to

We’re looking forward to hearing from you.     

*For More on the Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, click HERE.

Old West TV: The Arizona Rangers

On this episode of Chronicle of the Old West TV Dakota Livesay gives us a brief history on what the Arizona Rangers were all about!

Chuckwagon: Sourdough Biscuits

          Sourdough biscuits were a delicacy whether on the trail or at the ranch.  Once a cook got a good sourdough starter he cherished it like a baby.  On the trail he would store it in a dark, cool place in his chuck wagon.  Here is one cooks recipe for a sourdough starter.

                                                2 cups of lukewarm potato water.
                                                2 cups flour.
                                                1 tablespoon sugar.

           Make potato water by cutting up 2 medium-sized potatoes into cubes, and boil in cups of water until tender.  Remove the potatoes and measure out two cups of the remaining liquid. (The potatoes can be used for the evening meal.)  Mix the potato water, flour and sugar into a smooth paste.  Set the mixture in a warm place until it doubles its original size.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

George Custer’s Favorite Scout

William Averill Comstock was a military scout who could, “easily read all the signs Indians left for the information of other Indians, could interpret their smoke columns used in telegraphing, and after a party had passed, could tell with remarkable accuracy from its trail how many were in the party.”
Comstock was the prototypical military scout. He earned the name “Medicine Bill,” because he bit off the finger of a young Sioux woman who had received a rattlesnake bite.
But William Comstock had a secret past. Not that he was some bad criminal on the run, but the opposite. He was the grandnephew of James Fenimore Cooper. You see, Cooper wrote about the “noble savage”, and the whites on the western frontier hated Cooper’s romantic tales about the savage Indian.
In August of 1868 a band of Indians attacked a village near Hays, Kansas.
Comstock and another scout named Abner Grover were sent to the camp of Cheyenne chief Turkey Leg to see if the rampaging braves could be brought under control. While in negotiations, Turkey Leg received word that the military had killed several Indians in retaliation. The negotiations were over, and on August 16, 1868, while traveling home Comstock was killed.
Now, the interesting thing is that William Comstock was George Armstrong Custer’s favorite scout. One of the few people Custer would listen to. The question is, would the Little Big Horn have taken place if Comstock had been riding alongside of Custer instead of dying eight years earlier?

Indians and the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887

Stephen AustinBy the late 1880’s most Indians were living on reservations. The reservations were under tribal ownership, with a communal style of control and use. Since it was the custom of white people to desire individual ownership of land and since many people felt that land ownership promoted industriousness, it was decided that the tribal ownership concept should be changed.
So, on February 8, 1887, the Dawes Severalty Act was passed. It gave the government the power to divide Indian reservations into privately owned plots. Men with families would receive 160 acres, single adult men got 60 acres, and boys received 40 acres. Women received nothing.
Except for women receiving nothing, it sounds like a pretty good deal, right? There were two problems. First, Indian culture was such that land, like air and sunlight wasn’t something that individuals owned. But the even greater problem was that it was a thinly veiled attempt by the government to take reservation land out of the hands of the Indians. For once the allotments were divided among the eligible Indians there were 86 million acres of land, or 62 percent of their holdings, left over. This land was available to be sold to anyone.
Even though friends of the Indians supported the act, it never produced the desired effect of assimilating Indians into white culture. In addition to the loss of lands, the Indians lost tribal bargaining power, and resentment developed that the government was trying to destroy traditional cultures.
Few people felt the Severalty Act was accomplishing its purpose, but it continued as law for forty years. Finally, in 1934, the Wheeler-Howard Act was passed that ended further transfer of lands from Indian hands, and made possible communal ownership to any tribe desiring it.
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