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The Real Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West Paperback – July 17, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0312263812 ISBN-10: 0312263813 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (July 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312263813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312263812
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,176,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Although not as renowned as Buffalo Bill Cody, Joseph Miller and his brothers were in many ways as impressive as impresarios. Their Wild West shows, which competed with Cody's show and the Ringling Brothers' circuses, featured talent like Will Rogers and Tom Mix and significantly influenced American mass entertainment. In The Real Wild West, Michael Wallis makes a case that the Millers didn't just invent the romantic West but lived it as well.

Like Cody before them, the Millers took their cues from the frontier, largely because they played a significant part in its conquest. The family's rambunctious Kentuckian patriarch, George Washington Miller, abandoned the bluegrass of his home state to raise cattle on the greener pastures of the plains. His sons followed suit, but in 1905, a rodeo at the 101, their 100,000-acre-plus Oklahoma ranch, for the National Editorial Association led to a new career in popular entertainment. Within a decade, film producer Thomas Ince had set up shop nearby, utilizing talent from the 101 for his westerns. (It was Ince's mysterious death, combined with revelations of financial chicanery, that ultimately destroyed the enterprise in the 1920s.)

Wallis doesn't sugarcoat accusations of murder and illegal financial maneuverings on the part of the Millers, instead making interesting parallels between their ruthlessness and business acumen and the romantic vision of the West they presented to early-20th-century audiences. His account is also notable for its numerous biographies of 101 performers--people like Princess Wenona, the Native American rival to Annie Oakley, and Bill Pickett, an African American cowhand who founded most of the events on the professional rodeo circuit--and conveys the enthusiasm many must have felt during the Wild West shows' heyday. --John M. Anderson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

After reading Wallis's lively history, even readers who had never heard of the 101 Ranch will feel as if they've known of it all their lives. At its height, George W. Miller's 101 Ranch, so named in 1893, covered 110,000 acres in what is now Oklahoma. It was not only a ranching empire but also a western legend. In fact, as Wallis (Route 66: the Mother Road) tells it, the 101 played a critical role in creating the West as it came to exist in the American popular imagination. The 101 staged elaborate Wild West shows and was largely responsible for Hollywood's infatuation with the West (which in turn was responsible for the country's infatuation). Will Rogers, Tom Mix and the famous African-American cowboy Bill Pickett performed in the 101's shows, and the ranch itself was a favorite filming location for many early Hollywood westerns. Readers will quickly turn the pages, as Wallis portrays larger-than-life characters such as Lucille Mulhall, billed as the "original cowgirl," of whom Wallis writes: "Weighing less than a pair of fancy Mexican saddles, Lucille not only threw steers and busted broncs but also stalked prairie wolves, branded cattle, and roped as many as eight running range horses at once. She was an absolute showstopper." Miller's sons kept the 101 alive until the Depression, after which the ranch was divided into small farms. Full of amazing storiesAvirtually a who's who of popular Western cultureAWallis's book tells a tale of people in whom genuine accomplishment and show-biz promotion fused in a marriage as quintessentially American as the idea of the Wild West itself.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

It has been said, "reading a Michael Wallis book is like dancing to a romantic ballad. He offers his hand and gently guides you across the floor, swaying to the song of the American West."

A best-selling author and award-winning reporter, Michael is a historian and biographer of the American West who also has gained international notoriety as a speaker and voice talent. In 2006 Michael's distinctive voice was heard in Cars, an animated feature film from Pixar Studios, also featuring Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Owen Wilson, Michael Keaton, and George Carlin. Michael is also featured in Cars 2, a sequel to the original motion picture released in 2011.

A storyteller who likes nothing better than transporting audiences across time and space, Michael has published seventeen books, including Route 66: The Mother Road, the book credited with sparking the resurgence of interest in the highway. In 2011, Michael's latest works were published -- David Crockett: The Lion of the West, and The Wild West 365.

Other Wallis books include The Real Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West; Mankiller: A Chief and Her People; Way Down Yonder In The Indian Nation; and Pretty Boy: The Life and Times of Charles Arthur Floyd. His work has been published in hundreds of national and international magazines and newspapers, including Time, Life, People, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.

Michael has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize and was also a nominee for the National Book Award. He has won many other prestigious honors, such as the Will Rogers Spirit Award, the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall & Western Heritage Museum, the Oklahoma Book Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book, and the Best Western Non-fiction Award from the Western Writers of America.

For further information about Michael Wallis, visit http://www.michaelwallis.com.

Customer Reviews

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This is a big story and its told so well, it reads like a great historical novel.
LlewisTEG@aol.com
Michael Wallace did an excellent job of getting his historical facts straight and offered some additional resources for my search for family history.
Mary Carson Dillon
The characters that made the wild west are brought to life by many tie ins to the 101 Ranch.
HistoryShowsUs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By LlewisTEG@aol.com on May 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Wallis is a powerful writer. In this book, the people and events who shaped the West, come to life.
This is a big story and its told so well, it reads like a great historical novel.
The characters are bigger than life. You'll learn about the the myths and fables of the West! There stories of cattle ranching, Cowboys, Cowgirls, Native Americans, the first Wild West Show, and the beginnings of the "Westerns" in Hollywood.
If you liked Lonesome Dave, you'll love this book!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mary Carson Dillon on May 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book was a welcome source of information on the Carson & Miller families whose genealogy I have been researching. Michael Wallace did an excellent job of getting his historical facts straight and offered some additional resources for my search for family history.
The easy style presented an engrossing story of a family moving through history from the 1850's to the 1930's and adjusting (not always easily) to the changing moores of society.
My father was a cousin of the Miller Bros. and told us children stories of his childhood in Oklahoma and attending the shows at the 101. My sister & I recently visited the old 101 ranch site and were sad to see that little is left. The Miller house in Winfield, Kansas is still standing in beautiful condition and is a private residence.
Michael Wallace is an excellent storyteller. The book gave life to my genealogy and made me feel in touch with the characters and the times. Anyone with an interest in western history would enjoy this story of a dynamic family who helped shape our images of the old west.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kristin Allan on February 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Readers lacking a sense of irony may be dismayed to discover that the Real Wild West was only loosely hitched to reality. Spurred by the imaginations of Charles Miller and his three sons, our perception of what is the west sports the distinct brand of the 101. Take heart, though, because on the Miller Brothers' 101, the west was most certainly wild.
Possibly outlaws and certainly mavericks, the Millers rounded up some legendary talent to work their ranch and perform in their touring shows. The 101 herd of entertainers included Geronimo, Will Rogers, champion cowgirl Lucille Mulhall, Annie Oakley rival Princess Wenona, and such film legends as Tom Mix, Buck Jones, Ken Maynard, Yakima Canutt and Hoot Gibson. Black cowboy, Bill Pickett, famed for inventing the rodeo event steer wrestling spent a long career at the 101, and Buffalo Bill Cody spent his final year with the outfit.
While tooling a longstanding image of the west with their Wild West productions, the Millers also saddled up to motion pictures, oil production and an outstanding crop and livestock operation. Their story is a rodeo itself, made all the more interesting by the hints that white hats did not cover the heads of all of the 101 cowboys and cowgirls.
When the last little doggie was wrangled on the 101, the Miller Brothers' legacy did not ride off into the sunset, but continues to stampede through the dreams of would-be cowpokes everywhere. I'm not a regular patron of movie theatres, but I cannot wait until this saga makes it to the big screen!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you like history and the stories of the old west, buy this book. I really enjoyed it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By HistoryShowsUs on January 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most entertaining and fascinating books I have read in a long time. The characters that made the wild west are brought to life by many tie ins to the 101 Ranch. Who knew that this icon of western life had such a role in the formation of the movie industry and how the culture of the west became the beginnings of Hollywood. This is one of my most recommended books that I have read this year. Exciting, touching and informative. This is more than just non-fiction.
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