Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Legends of the West: Wyatt Earp

Legends of the West: Wyatt Earp

Michael E. Goodman
For ages 12 and up
The Creative Company, 2005   ISBN: 978-1583413395

The son of a man who frequently moved his family from place to place the teenaged Wyatt Earp took on all kinds of jobs. He worked as a stagecoach driver, as a hunter, and he took bets during boxing matches. He liked a life of adventure but when he was twenty he decided that it was time to settle down and he joined his family in Lamar, Missouri. Here he took a job in a hotel, fell in love with the hotel owner’s daughter and married her. At this time he also got his first job in law enforcement, winning an election for the position of town constable.

Unfortunately this quiet time did not last. In less than a year Wyatt’s wife died and he got into trouble with the law. Wyatt fled the state and for a while he found work as a buffalo hunter in Indian Territory. Wyatt was savvy about the world and saw that there was a need for men like him in the busy, often lawless cattle towns in the west so he went to Kansas where he moved from town to town taking jobs as town deputy and deputy marshal.

In addition to have great courage and a determination to do his job well, Wyatt also had a canny ability to make close friends. Many of these men would stand by Wyatt in times of trouble and they included Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday. Doc was with Wyatt in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881 when Wyatt and his brothers clashed with the Clanton gang. Because Wyatt ended up killing several men during this time he was forced to leave Arizona and he and his new wife Josie took up a nomadic life moving from city to city and from place to place.

In this exciting and carefully researched account of the life of Wyatt Earp, the author gives his readers a vivid picture of what life was like in the mid to late 1880’s. It was certainly an unsettled time and men often turned their hand to a variety of jobs, just as Wyatt did. Packed with photographs and interesting side bars, this is a title which will delight readers who are interested in the Wild West.