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Publisher's Summary

Dodge City, Kansas, is a place of legend. The town that started as a small military site exploded with the coming of the railroad, cattle drives, eager miners, settlers, and various entrepreneurs passing through to populate the expanding West. Before long Dodge City's streets were lined with saloons and brothels, and its populace was thick with gunmen, horse thieves, and desperadoes of every sort. By the 1870s Dodge City was known as the most violent and turbulent town in the West.

Enter Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. Young and largely self-trained men, the lawmen led the effort that established frontier justice and the rule of law in the American West and did it in the wickedest place in the United States. When they moved on, Wyatt to Tombstone and Bat to Colorado, a tamed Dodge was left in the hands of Jim Masterson. But before long Wyatt and Bat, each having had a lawman brother killed, returned to that threatened Western Kansas town to team up to restore order again in what became known as the Dodge City War before riding off into the sunset.

Number-one New York Times best-selling author Tom Clavin's Dodge City tells the true story of their friendship, romances, gunfights, and adventures along with the remarkable cast of characters they encountered along the way (including Wild Bill Hickock, Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid, and Theodore Roosevelt) that has gone largely untold, lost in the haze of Hollywood films and Western fiction, until now.

©2017 Tom Clavin (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 03-26-17

The Real Life Story of Dodge City

Clavin’s book is more than the history of the Earp and Masterson brothers, it is also the history of Kansas and mostly of Dodge City. Clavin provides a brief history of the discovery of the West from the Spanish, French to Lewis and Clark. The author tells about Zebulon Pike who spent some time exploring the area around what became Dodge City. But the primary focus of the book is the period from 1870 to 1880s in Dodge City. I loved the description of Kansas the author provides of what Francisco Vazquez de Coronado wrote, “short grass covered with mounds of prairie dogs, badgers, coyotes, wolves, antelope, deer, birds and 5 million buffalo” (American Bison). I can just picture it.

Clavin points out that Dodge City was founded at the head of the Santa Fe trail and an Army fort (Fort Dodge) was built to protect the trail. When the Santa Fe railroad reached Dodge City, the Texas cattle drives rolled into the rail head. Clavin discussed the various gunslingers home to Dodge City such as Dirty Sock Jack and Dynamite Sam. Of course, he tells the stories of Wyatt and Bat taming the town.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. The book is written in an easy reading style closer to a novel than a history book. In the opening of the book, the author tells of his problems separating fact from fiction about the Earp and Masterson brothers. He said he did his best to present only proven facts. I learned a great deal about Kansas and Dodge City from the book. As a fan of the T.V. show “Gunsmoke”, I recognized Delmonico’s and the Long Branch Saloon.

The book is just over thirteen hours long. John Bedford Lloyd did a good job narrating the book. I enjoyed his baritone voice. I had only one fault with his narration in that he mispronounced the Arkansas River. It is not pronounced like the state but the emphasis is on Kansas. Lloyd is an actor and award winning audiobook narrator.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Rick
  • Murrieta, CA, United States
  • 06-24-17

"The look (and Feel) of Hand-tooled Leather"

I had to steal that line from the Time Life book series from the 1970's but it fits well here. This book is a true tale of the old west, not just Dodge City, Wyatt Earp, and Bat Masterson like the title reads. I mean, it (the title) is almost misleading. This book is so much more.

If you are looking for a title that smells of gun smoke and dusty leather, if you're looking to learn of the west and how life in Dodge City, or really any western town was lived, told by the people whom lived it, don't think twice. And John Bedford Lloyd won't put you to sleep with his even tone and the stories within will keep you interested cover to cover. Add this one to your queue, it's well worth the credit!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Into the Wild West

If you want to know the history of the American Wild West, this book is absolutely indispensable. Beginning during Reconstruction, passing effortlessly through the Plains Wars and ending shortly after Teddy Roosevelt’s Presidency, Tom Calvin’s history of the era is as expansive as it is detailed. The main narrative focuses on Wyatt Earp & Bat Masterson, but between the two lawmen they encountered most all of the Western legends including Buffalo Bill, Doc Holiday, and even Jesse James. And as if all that isn’t enough, the individual stories are all told in a manner that makes them as exciting as any good Western. I’d recommend listening to chapters in short bursts, as it makes the text feel more like a series of short stories with reoccurring characters than one single history.

As for the narration, John Bedford Lloyd does a spectacular job. His deep and smoky tone blends well with this sort of material. What are you waiting for? Beyond highly recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • MINDEN, NV, United States
  • 06-23-17

Fantastic Read

This isn't the same old rehash of Wyatt Earp and the OK Corral. This is a story telling of the lawmen of the Wild West, both the good and the bad. Not everyone is a sinner or a saint but mostly a composite of both. You won't go wrong listening to this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Amazing!

Wonderful depiction of the old west and it's heroes and villains! A must read today!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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brilliant and entertaining history of the West

wow - what a great history of Dodge City and the American West. I learned so much about the real history of the west and the author really did a brilliant job of researching the facts and separating fact from fiction. Anyone that loves the history of the American West needs to read this book. And God bless Bat and Wyatt for the brave men that they were!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Facts

As an example. Frank Stilwell was killed in Tucson. There are a few others as well as mispronounced names.
Not bad otherwise. Just be prepared.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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It's okay....

Entertaining enough, but ultimately disappointing. Reads more like a cliff notes version of "possible" truths. Glossing over Bat and Wyatt and focusing instead on people forgotten by history, and, as I can now state with authority, forgotten with good reason. The author, for his part, seems to make no attempts at impartiality, and writes in a way reminiscent of the type of person who elbows you in the side after ever joke to "make sure you get it" if you know very little, or nothing about Bat, Wyatt and Dodge City, then it's not a bad read. But anyone with a passing knowledge will find nothing new here.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Weak research muscle.

The story told here is a product of research that proves to range from competent to deficient. Too often parts of the narrative are sourced from questionable places, and while there are high points (when the story follows a good path based on credible sources), there are too many in between that fill the gaps with conjecture or just flat out western romanticism. The narrator flubs pronunciations on so many names which are said over and over that it becomes distracting, even mistaking events in the "1800s" by saying 19xx. Though the narrator does have a pleasant delivery otherwise.

There are too many times within the narrative that wild side stories are introduced, such as an entire run about Pat Garret killing Billy the Kid and specifics about it that have zero relation to the title. Calvin uses this same topic skipping to seemingly include every famous western name in the scope of this book.

Overall this is a decent listen, but given this area of western history is so muddied by misinformation, I get a little disappointed when another author comes along and cites misinformation printed in books of decades past. The success of books like this rest very heavily on the strength of the author's ability to research. Being a researcher myself in this specific scope of history, I recognize that while Calvin isn't entirely weak in this area, but there are too many sentences within this book that are derived from short cuts or lack of research for me to want to recommend it.

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boring

Oracle inaccuracies early in the book concerning the Comanche that of Quanah Parker's father mostly