Originally published as Tales from the American Frontier
in 1991, this collection of the Wild West's equivalent of "urban legends" is a hoot and a holler. Laugh at the tale of "The Young Man Who Wanted to Be Snakebit" (for a shot of whiskey was the local snakebite antidote), shudder at the mention of "The Headless Horseman of the Mother Lode," and marvel at the "hoop snake," a 6-foot-long wonder that can bite its own tail and roll after its prey--although a 15-foot catfish can swallow it whole. These tall tales are rather boisterous and do not always treat the West's Native American and Latino inhabitants with sensitivity--which means, of course, that they accurately capture the spirit of the era.
"You'll never find a better guide than Richard Erdoes to lead you through the mosaic of the American frontier. The whole pack of our legendary past is crammed into this treasure box.
—Dee Brown, author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee