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  1. #1
    Dec 2008
    1009 times

    Pegleg Smith: Hoss Thief

    Along with being famous for finding the nuggets of black gold, Thomas L. "Pegleg" Smith was famous in the American West as an accomplished horse thief.

    I am reading the wonderful Life in the Far West, by George Frederick Ruxton (1849), and in the second half of Chapter VI and much of Chapter VII is a detailed account of a mountain man expedition to steal horses from a mission in Spanish California.

    This is not a description of one of old Pegleg's forays, per se. However, I suggest it is a reliable version of the expeditions he led. Although this particular yarn is, perhaps, a bit more humorous than those that occurred in fact.

    I highly recommend this first-rate book to anyone interested in the fur trappers and traders of the Far West. Lieut. Ruxton, late of Her Majesty's 89th Regiment, traveled with the mountain men. This book - which is difficult to describe accurately, but I'll take a stab at it as "semi-autobiographical" - is great reading. The author captured the language of these hardy souls - and the stories are based on his own adventures in the mountains and on the plains.

    One of Lieut. Ruxton's most interesting observations - and, keep in mind, this book was written before the Gold Rush in '49 - is that some First Americans saw with the coming of the white men the end of the buffalo and the end of their way of life. This is as prescient as it is poignant.

    This book is one of the volumes in the Time-Life series "Classics of the Old West." Unfortunately, the additional editoral matter is contained in a laid in flyer, and many of the used copies for sale today no longer include it. I think any publisher who reprints a book should add useful additional material - this one sure could have used a detailed map!

    Good luck to all,

    ~The Old Bookaroo

    PS: Don't confuse this book with another in the series: Wild Life in the Far West by Captain James Hobbs (1872). I'm going to read that one next!
    Do you have good books in good condition you are never going to re-read? Clean 'em out!
    Operation Paperback collects gently used books and sends them to American troops.

  2. #2
    Sharing the culture, history and adventure of the American Southwest.

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    66 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Pegleg Smith: Hoss Thief

    Hi Bookaroo,
    Is there any mention of someone named Le Duke


  3. #3
    Charter Member
    Sep 2007
    White's MXT Sunray DX-1 Falcon MD20 Garrett Seahunter Mark II
    64 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Pegleg Smith: Hoss Thief

    That book is available as a free ebook at google.
    The creeks are all cowards and run underground and whiskey is so scarce that you can’t use it to wet down dry jokes. –The Irish Lord 1897



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