Bill Markley

Bill Markley

A long-time member of Western Writers of America, Bill Markley's latest book, Billy the Kid and Jesse James: Outlaws of the Legendary West (October 2019) is the second in the Legendary West series. Which outlaw was the best at what he did, Jesse James or Billy the Kid? The first in the series, Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson: Lawmen of the Legendary West (May 2019) compares the lives of these two great lawmen of the Old West. Which lawman did the most to tame the frontier, Bat Masterson or Wyatt Earp? This joint biography reveals the intersection of their legacies and attempts to answer the questions about their place in the story of the West. Both Billy the Kid and Jesse James and Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson are 2020 Will Rogers Medallion Award finalists. Old West Showdown: Two Authors Wrangle over the Truth about the Mythic Old West (October 2018) was selected as a 2019 Will Rogers Medallion Award finalist. In this book, Bill and coauthor Kellen Cutsforth explore ten old west controversial events and characters fully realizing they will be stirring up multiple hornets' nests. Kellen takes one side of each story and Bill takes the other side--point/counterpoint. How did the gunfight near the O.K. Corral actually happen? Why did the James Younger gang try to rob the bank in Northfield, Minnesota? What really happened at Wild Bill Hickok's first gunfight? Were he and Calamity Jane lovers? Did Custer make bad decisions at the Little Bighorn or did his officers let him down? Did Buffalo Bill really ride for the Pony Express and do all the things he claimed? Did the army have Crazy Horse killed to get him out of the way? Did Pat Garrett really kill Billy the Kid? Geronimo-hero or terrorist? Wyoming's Johnson County War--were the small ranchers really rustlers? Bill's book, Deadwood Dead Men (September 2013) is a historical novel of Deadwood, Dakota Territory, in August 1876 during the time of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and others. Western Fictioneers selected Deadwood Dead Men as a finalist for its 2014 Peacemaker Award in the category Best First Western Novel. History, especially American history, and travel have fascinated Bill Markley since he was a boy growing up on the family farm in Pennsylvania. Moving to Pierre, South Dakota in 1976, to work for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources was a natural fit for Markley, where he immersed himself in local history and participated in Civil War and Western frontier reenacting. Markley has been in films such as Dances With Wolves, Son of the Morning Star, Far and Away, Gettysburg, and Crazy Horse. He worked in Antarctica, traveled the South Pacific, kayaked and backpacked in Alaska, chaperoned a Boy Scout troop to Japan, and has camped, hiked, and rode horseback through the West. Markley has written three additional books, Dakota Epic, Experiences of a Reenactor during the filming of Dances With Wolves, and Up the Missouri River with Lewis and Clark and American Pilgrim, A Post September 11 Bus Trip and Other Tales of the Road. He writes for South Dakota Magazine, Roundup, True West, and Wild West. Markley's story "Kenneth McKenzie, King of the Upper Missouri" appears in WWA's anthology, Roundup! Markley and his wife Liz, live in Pierre where they raised two children.

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