After a nomadic childhood, Charles Siringo signed on as a teenage cowboy for the noted Texas cattle king, Shanghai Pierce, and began a life that embraced all the hard work, excitement, and adventure readers today associate with the cowboy era. He “rid the Chisholm trail,” driving 2,500 heads of cattle from Austin to Kansas; knew Tascosa—
now a historic monument—
when it was home to raucous saloons, red light districts, and a fair share of violence; and led a posse of cowboys in pursuit of Billy the Kid and his gang.
First published in 1885, Siringo’s chronicle of his life as a itchy-footed boy, cowhand, range detective, and adventurer was one the first classics about the Old West and helped to romanticize the West and its myth of the American cowboy. Will Rogers declared, “That was the Cowboy’s Bible when I was growing up.”