A new website, louiskraftwriter.com, went live in April 2013. It is a combination website and blog, so please check it often to explore the craziness of being a writer that walks a lonely road while he reaches for the truth.
Most recently I spoke about Ned Wynkoop at an Order of the Indian Wars symposium in Centennial, Colorado (April 2013), have completed articles dealing with Ned Wynkoop, and am working on a couple of Geronimo/Apache articles that will soon deliver. The contract for Sand Creek and the Tragic End of a Lifeway (OU Press) will soon be signed (it will be the next published book), and in September I'll be speaking about Gatewood & Geronimo in Tucson, Arizona, for the kickoff to an Order of the Indian Wars tour. Keep up to date with my writing, appearances, and craziness at louiskraftwriter.com.
In September 2012 I spoke about Ned Wynkoop's efforts to stop Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock from destroying a Cheyenne-Sioux village on the Pawnee Fork in Kansas in 1867 at Rendezvous 2012 hosted by the Santa Fe Trail Association, Fort Larned National Historical Site, and Santa Fe Trail Center. The talk was on the village site, which is pristine and protected. He also represented Wynkoop when he was inducted into the Santa Fe Trail Association Hall of Fame (see photo). The trip was successful, and he'll be returning to Kansas numerous times in the next two years to speak about Wynkoop and the Cheyennes, and to research and write additional stories about Wynkoop and his Indian agency, the Cheyennes, Fort Larned and the soldiers stationed in Kansas.
Kraft and daughter Marissa researched a novel about Kit Carson and a fictional Diné (as the Navajos call themselves) warrior and his granddaughter during the fateful years of 1863-64 on the Navajo reservation in July. The novel is currently in progress.
Research and writing continues on Kraft's book on the tragedy of Sand Creek for OU Press and his book on Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland's time together during the golden age of Hollywood. Also upcoming are articles for True West on Flynn's western films and articles on Wynkoop and Geronimo/Apaches for Wild West (These came about in June when Kraft spent time with his editors at OU Press, Wild West and True West magazines at a Western Writers of America convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Wynkoop book was honored and Kraft spoke about Ned Wynkoop at the event. ... Some of these articles have already been delivered).
Kraft's article on Ned Wynkoop, "When Wynkoop Was Sheriff" (April 2011 Wild West magazine) won the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Wrangler Award. To read the article, go to Wild West's web page (http://www.historynet.com/wild-west), and once there click 2012 Western Heritage Award: When Wynkoop Was Sheriff. Kraft attended the awards events in Oklahoma City during the weekend of April 21, 2012, and had a great time.
Online Reviews of Kraft's NED WYNKOOP AND THE LONELY ROAD FROM SAND CREEK:
* Wild West magazine: http://www.historynet.com/book-review-ned-wynkoop-and-the-lonely-road-from-sand-creek-by-louis-kraft.htm
* True West magazine: http://www.truewestmagazine.com/jcontent/entertainment/entertainment/book-reviews/4395-the-lonely-road
* Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library: http://coloradowest.auraria.edu/book-review/ned-wynkoop-and-lonely-road-sand-creek
* Wild West History Association: http://www.wildwesthistory.org/rvu-nedwynkoop.html
LOUIS KRAFT WRITING BIO:
Louis Kraft became interested in the West in the 1970s; in particular he became interested in people who didn't speak the same language but who were able to work out their differences without killing each other. To understand these people and the land they inhabited, he immersed himself in their struggle for survival. In the mid-1980s he began writing and lecturing about them. THE FINAL SHOWDOWN (Walker and Company, 1992) explores racial relations in 1867 Kansas; CUSTER AND THE CHEYENNE: GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER'S WINTER CAMPAIGN ON THE SOUTHERN PLAINS (Upton and Sons, 1995) follows Custer's 1868-1869 winter campaign on the Southern Plains wherein he negotiated with warring Indians and got them to end a war without further bloodshed (CUSTER AND THE CHEYENNE won the Jay D. Smith award for its contribution to the study of Custeriana over the years in June 2011); and GATEWOOD & GERONIMO (University of New Mexico Press, 2000) examines the relationship between the two pre-eminent warriors of the last Apache war. Not finished with Gatewood, Kraft pieced together and edited the lieutenant's aborted attempt to write about his years walking among the Apaches, and then Kraft wrote an additional 80,000 words--text and notes--to fill in the gaps in Gatewood's incomplete manuscript--LT. CHARLES GATEWOOD & HIS APACHE WARS MEMOIR (University of Nebraska Press, 2005). NED WYNKOOP AND THE LONELY ROAD FROM SAND CREEK (University of Oklahoma Press, 2011) examines the life of a man who dared to speak up for Indian rights during the 1860s, a time of expansionism and extreme racial prejudice on the expanding western frontier.
Although Kraft had written plays earlier in his career, he had shied away from the format until 2002 when his one-man historical drama on Cheyenne Indian agent Edward Wynkoop premiered in Kansas. It has since played in California, Colorado, and Oklahoma (AN EVENING WITH NED WYNKOOP has evolved into NED WYNKOOP: A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE and NED WYNKOOP: LONG ROAD TO WASHITA). Kraft's full-length play CHEYENNE BLOOD played for five weeks in Oxnard, California, in April and May 2009. CHEYENNE BLOOD, a two character play (Cheyenne Indian Agent Ned Wynkoop and Cheyenne woman Monahsetah), dealt with race, genocide, and humanity.
Kraft continues to research, write, and lecture about Custer, Gatewood, and Wynkoop, as well swashbuckling actor Errol Flynn. He is currently researching and writing a manuscript that deals with the people and events that led up to the tragic attack on a Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho village on Sand Creek in Colorado Territory on November 29, 1864 for the University of Oklahoma Press. Other projects include Flynn and his working relationship with actress Olivia de Havilland (ERROL & OLIVIA), a story that Kraft guarantees will be well researched and different from a multitude of Hollywood biographies that race to get in print and all too often have a total disregard for truth and are loaded with sensational prose that has little or no basis in fact.
To keep up to date with Kraft, the status on his projects, and upcoming events, as well as a glimpse of his personal life subscribe to his page or link up with him on Facebook (http://facebook.com/louis.kraft). For an overview of Kraft's work--where he's been and where he's headed--see a recent interview by Wild West magazine (http://www.historynet.com/interview-with-author-playwright-louis-kraft.htm). (The website, http://louiskraft.com, has been shut down temporarily as it was impossible to get updates added to it in a timely manner. A new web site is in the works and will hopefully appear in the not-too-distant future.)
Kraft lives in North Hollywood, California, and spends most of his free time with his daughter Marissa Kraft. Contact Kraft at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Photo1: Kraft leaning against the building that Ned Wynkoop rented from the post Trader at Fort Larned, Kansas. In 1867-68 it served as his residence and Indian agency. This image shows Kraft dressed as Wynkoop, whom he represented on September 21 when the agent was inducted into the Santa Fe Trail Association Hall of Fame. Photo © Louis Kraft 2012.
- Photo2: Kraft as Ned Wynkoop. Artwork © Louis Kraft 2012.
- Photo3: Kraft accepting the Wrangler Award at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum awards ceremony in Oklahoma City for "When Wynkoop Was Sheriff (April 2011 issue of Wild West magazine). What a cool event! (April 21, 2012). Photo © Ownbey Photography 2012.
- Photo4: Kraft in a tight spot as he walks with the frontiersmen he writes about (May 25). Photo © Glen Williams & Kraft 2012.
- Photo5: Road trip tracking Route 66 in Arizona, photo by Glenn Williams September 5, 2011.
- Photo6: Portrait of Kraft by Steve Buffington.
- Photo7: Louis Kraft w/Olivia de Havilland in her garden in Paris, France. Watercolor painting by Louis Kraft based upon photos taken in July 2009. Art © Louis Kraft 2012.
- Photo8: With Southern Cheyenne Ivan Hankla (at left in his tipi at the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site) while his nephew, Jake, is at the right, December 2008 © Leroy Livesay.