- Paperback: 282 pages
- Publisher: Amlex; 1st edition (January 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 096591741X
- ISBN-13: 978-0965917414
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Osage Indian Murders: The True Story of a 21-Murder Plot to Inherit the Headrights of Wealthy Osage Tribe Members 1st Edition
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In 1870 Congress forced the Osages to sell their lands in Kansas and buy lands from the Cherokees in what was then Oklahoma Territory. The price quoted was 25 cents an acre. When the Osages hove into sight, of course, the Cherokees upped the price to 70 cents an acre. It was a seller's market.
Who could know that the "poor grave" (as the Osages called the new reservation) would start gushing oil in 1897? The real tragedy of things to come was these once-proud Plains warriors had never wanted money. They wanted to hunt buffalo, plant a few field crops and steal horses -- a special passion of the Plains Indians.
But the oil flowed, the Osages spent money with both hands and the vultures circled. One way for a white thief to get his hands on Osage money was to marry an Osage woman, have her killed and inherit her headrights.There was always someone willing to pull the trigger -- a shiftless hanger-on or an outlaw hiding in the woods of Osage County.
This, then, was the setting for a string of Osage Indian murders that terrorized both Indians and whites. In 1923, the FBI was called in. Agents worked undercover for three years, turning over one rock at a time to put their case together. Trials began in 1926 and eventually several life sentences were handed down.
Author Lawrence J. Hogan -- a former FBI agent and former U.S. congressman -- did voluminous research for this book. He quotes from original documents, interviews and confessions, and organized an interesting bibliography.
Old black and white photos of Indians and outlaws, murder scenes and city streets evoke the time and place in ways that words never can. The people in the photos bring the story to life. They look straight out of the page and their eyes speak volumes.
After a while it sinks in: They were real people, and they really did those things.
Note: This review is excerpted, with permission, from a review I wrote for The Hanford Sentinel newspaper.