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Publisher's Summary

Some of the legendary gunmen of the Old West were lawmen, but more, like Billy the Kid and Jesse James, were outlaws. Tom Horn (1860-1903) was both. Lawman, soldier, hired gunman, detective, outlaw, and assassin, this darkly enigmatic figure has fascinated Americans ever since his death by hanging the day before his 43rd birthday. In this masterful historical biography, Larry Ball, a distinguished historian of western lawmen and outlaws, presents the definitive account of Horn’s career.

Horn became a civilian in the Apache wars when he was still in his early 20s. He fought in the last major battle with the Apaches on US soil and chased the Indians into Mexico with General George Crook. He bragged about murdering renegades, and the brutality of his approach to law and order foreshadows his controversial career as a Pinkerton detective and his trial for murder in Wyoming. Having worked as a hired gun and a range detective in the years after the Johnson County War, he was eventually tried and hanged for killing a 14-year-old boy. Horn’s guilt is still debated.

As a teller of tall tales, Horn burnished his own reputation throughout his life. In spite of his services as a civilian scout and packer, his behavior frightened even his lawless companions. Although some writers have tried to elevate him to the top rung of frontier gun wielders, questions still shadow Horn’s reputation.

©2014 University of Oklahoma Press (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

What listeners say about Tom Horn in Life and Legend

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you can stand the awful narration...

The book is great, perhaps the best book ever written on the subject. Incredibly researched, highly detailed, and the follow-up about "Tom Horn" legend was a surprising treat.
However...
The narration is awful. I can imagine that the narrator sounded good, at first, to those who choose these things, but they didn't listen to him long enough. His GLOTTAL STOP is the most disturbing feature that left me laughing at parts that shouldn't be laughed at, with the troubling effect of halting my concentration about the subject overall. Really, did someone vet this guy? Evidently, they never had him read the words "mountain," or "Martin." There are actually "T's" in those words, and this guy can't get to them. I grew up in the panhandle area of Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico and while the drawl here is fast and loose, there is no reason to punish the listener of of a supposedly professional work by hearing "mou-un" and "Mar-un" over and over (with extra emphasis on "un"). Really, we don't allow our kids to speak this way in the southwest, and the reason will be obvious to you if you listen to Lucas enough. It's not "hick-charming," or "range-cute," it's just lazy, lazy reading. Add to that the less often mispronunciation (actually, slaughter) and syllable addition of words like "burgularizing" and you'll be in stitches, even though the narrator is describing a tragedy. Or is that a tragedidy? The lazy talk of glo-ul stop has to, well... stop!
-Nevertheless- The book was worth the torture of the listen, but more than once, I considered returning it because of the narration. It is, after all, a good book. I should have bought the text version and read it for myself, I suppose.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Interesting story about a complex man

I always wondered about this character because the mysteries of his life made a fascinating study for me. To me, he sounds like a basically insecure man who could not come to terms with how good he was at whatever he took on. I say that because of his bragging, embellishing and over-exaggerations when his reputation already spoke volumes. Then there was his dark side, the killer for hire who maybe enjoyed that work when he should not have. It's too bad his career came to the end it did. As for the narration, I am not too picky about that because I was too engrossed in the story. I don't think he is as bad as some have said. This is definitely worth a listen if you like western history.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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My Thoughts on this book

I really liked this book. I had beebn hearing a lot abot Tom Horn over my 57 years. I just neer took the time to actually listen/read a book about him. I had seen a movie or two but they really didn't leave me feeling to thrilled one way or another. The Steve McQueen movie comes to mind. I really liked the way author, Larry D. Ball cited references to his entries int eh book. Some of the stories I had heard just madde it sound like the author was completely correct and there was no other answer. In short, I feel the book covered most o the bases to Mr. Horn's life. The one downside,if it is indeed a downside, is that it was a 20 hour long audio book. It took a while to get through. In the end, it was worth it to me. I can recommend it to anyone who loves the Wild West era and some of its more notorious people.

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What the H__?

Unlistenable. I Imagine also largely unreadable. Begins with about 1 hour of a history of births. Like the Old Testament. Also, the narrator says things like, “what the H?” Instead of saying Hell. Ridiculous.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Comprehensive history of interesting man

Complements to the author of a well written and well researched story. He was able to tell the story well and make the tike spent enjoyable. Some don't like the reader, but he is not as bad as they state.

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Frustrating Performance

The reader turns the consonant “T” into a vowel! Very distracting. Paid to much to suffer through that many hours of distracted aggravation.

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Hard to believe all this in one short life time!

This is a very comprehensive review of one of America's most complex figures. In the end when Tom Horn was hung, it was also the death of the Old Wild West.

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An exciting story

The author did a great job bringing Tom Horn to life. I almost felt bad for him at the end.

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Tom Horn

The legend of Tom Horn was a very good background on Tom Horn. there was a lot of historical content when Tom Warren was a child, that explain the rest of his life.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • CT
  • 05-13-19

found it rather dull, narrator didn't help

I was hoping this would be more interesting, as this covers one of my favorite times is American history. I found it dull, and the narrator didn't help draw me in.