Life in the Old West

True stories, tall tales, memorabilia of the American West

(Life in the Old West Articles, Categories:For your convenience, all the articles and special features on our site can be found by clicking on the “Categories” listed in the right-hand sidebar on each page, from the Site Map, and on the sidebar “Recent Articles” and “Featured Articles” listings.)

How to find the best books about life in the Old West


It occurred to me awhile back that many people interested in life in the Old West these days might appreciate some simple, easy ways to find good books and other resources to learn more about the American West. Having grown up in a time when movies, television, and just about every entertainment media had ample references (though often mythical) to the West, this is a subject it never occurred to me might be helpful.

1. University related presses publishing houses. The various university and college presses in America have excellent libraries of American Western history and memorabilia, especially those university and college presses located in the Midwest and the Plains states. I’m not really speaking of textbooks, primarily, but also the many small projects by some great historians and writers who focus on the Old West. I’ve mentioned several of them, notably Robert Utley, Winfred Blevins, and Frank Roderus, and you’ll find others as you explore the wonderful titles available from such university presses as the University of Oklahoma, University of Nebraska, University of Kansas, University of New Mexico, University of Texas, and others.

2. eBay listings. Many of the older books about the American West have, sadly, gone out of print. Even many good volumes from the University Presses mentioned above may no longer be available. But many of those books are available from time to time on eBay — the world’s largest auction site. (I personally prefer to use the “Buy It Now” option on eBay, because I don’t like to take the time to go through the bidding process.)

Indeed, many of the articles I put on this website contain links to active eBay auctions for some of the Old West collectibles, memorabilia, and books I speak of in the article. I own some very useful, very sophisticated search software that finds and pulls real-time eBay listings into the website for your shopping convenience. (And, yes, I DO make a very small amount of money from people who purchase stuff on eBay using one of my links. It’s called “affiliate marketing,” and it’s one of the ways we pay the bills and keep the doors open here at the website.)

3. Amazon.com merchandise. Some of my favorite books related to the Old West are books I’ve found at great bargain prices on Amazon.com. Amazon and eBay both are invaluable if you know a specific title, or want to simply search for information about a person, place, or event related to the Old West. This past month, for example, I found two wonderful books at Amazon, one about women prospectors in the Old West, the other a fascinating biography about Buffalo Bill Cody.

Those are the best, in my opinion, ways to find good information about life in the Old West. Oh, sure, there’s one other which is kind of self-evident, I suppose: this website. If you’ve been hanging out here long, you know I ramble on about just every sort of subject you can imagine. I encourage you to check the categories I have listed here, look over the “Related Articles” links at the bottom of each article, and make note of some of the fine websites I’ve located and written about from time to time.

I hope you’ll find useful information here. As a nearly-bona-fide, genuine historian with a lifelong interest in the American West, I guarantee you I’ll try always to “get it right” when I write about anything.

And, while we’re on the subject, I encourage you to leave a comment or send me a message through the “About” page contact form if there’s a subject or specific information you’d enjoy reading about. I can’t guarantee that I’ll do it, but I’d be happy to try to track it the facts down for you.