*Explains the myths and legends of Belle Starr's life and discusses their authenticity.
*Includes a bibliography for further reading.
“Belle Starr, Belle Starr, tell me where you have gone Since old Oklahoma's sandhills you did roam? Is it Heaven's wide streets that you're tying your reins Or singlefooting somewhere below? Eight lovers they say combed your waving black hair Eight men knew the feel of your dark velvet waist Eight men heard the sounds of your tan leather skirt Eight men heard the bark of the guns that you wore.” – Woody Guthrie, Belle Starr
Space may be the final frontier, but no frontier has ever captured the American imagination like the “Wild West”, which still evokes images of dusty cowboys, outlaws, gunfights, gamblers, and barroom brawls over 100 years after the West was settled. A constant fixture in American pop culture, the 19th century American West continues to be vividly and colorful portrayed not just as a place but as a state of mind. In Charles River Editors’ Legends of the West series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most famous frontier figures in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
America has always preferred heroes who weren’t clean cut, an informal ode to the rugged individualism and pioneering spirit that defined the nation in previous centuries. The early 19th century saw the glorification of frontier folk heroes like Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, and after the Civil War, the outlaws of the West were more popular than the marshals. Outlaws like Jesse James and Billy the Kid robbed and fought their way into dime novels, but one of the most notorious and unique outlaws of them all was Myra Maybelle Shirley, a Southern girl who knew her way around horses and guns. Through her associations with other outlaws like the Starr clan and the James and Younger gang, Shirley entered law enforcement’s radar herself.
Shirley would get her famous nickname Belle Starr as a result of marrying outlaw Sam Starr, and it was that name that found itself plastered all across Wanted posters in the West. Though she was a crack shot and a renowned rider, Belle Starr was usually engaged in “lesser” crimes like stealing horses, rustling, fencing stolen goods and hiding other outlaws. She also became infamous for rumors about the various outlaws she romanced, which allegedly included Cole Younger.
Ultimately, Belle Starr likely would have been forgotten if not for the mysterious nature of her death and the attempts of dime novel writers to exaggerate her story and turn her into the female equivalent of Jesse James. On February 3, 1889, Starr was ambushed and murdered while riding home, and it’s still unclear who decided to blast her in the back and head with shotguns. That might have been the end of her story, but just months after her unsolved murder, dime novelist Richard K. Fox published Bella Starr, the Bandit Queen, or the Female Jesse James, which breathed new life into her legacy. Since then, Belle Starr has been remembered as one of the most famous women of the Wild West, and she has been portrayed in books, a 1941 movie named after her, and several television shows like Maverick and even Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Legends of the West: The Life and Legacy of Belle Starr chronicles the female outlaw’s life and examines the myths and legends surrounding her story. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the “Bandit Queen” like you never have before, in no time at all.
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Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 28 pages. 9.00x6.00x0.07 inches. This item is printed on demand. Bookseller Inventory # zk1492748994