Things You Didn’t Know About The Wild West


One week in, and the Weird Wild West Kickstarter is not only 22% funded, but was named a Staff Pick on the very first day!  It’s going to be a great book – we have amazing writers lined up to craft stories for you – and if we can manage to fund for the second volume, we’ll have more stories by even more great writers!

Today I thought I’d entertain you with some interesting bits of information about the Wild West.  This might be your chance to win at Jeopardy!  Or even more likely, one of the following wacky facts might spark your ideas enough to get a story started.  Did I mention that there’ll be open submission slots in The Weird Wild West if we fund successfully?  There will be, so share the link with your friends!


Whiskey had a number of names during the days of the Old Wes: bottled courage, bug juice, coffin varnish, dynamite, fire water, gut warmer, joy juice, neck oil, nose paint, redeye, scamper juice, snake pizen, tarantula juice, tonsil varnish, tornado juice, wild mare’s milk.

Phantly Roy Bean, Jr., also known as Judge Roy Bean, the Law West of the Pecos, was a saloon keeper and justice of the peace in frontier Texas.  His juries, chosen from his best bar customers, were expected to buy a drink during every court recess.  In 1890, Bean received word that railroad developer Jay Gould was planning to pass through town on a special train. Bean flagged down the train with the danger signal, leading the train engineer to think the bridge was out.  While the train was stopped, Bean invited Gould and his daughter to visit the saloon as his guests. The Goulds visited for two hours, causing a brief panic on the NYSE when it was reported that Gould had been killed in a train crash

Outlaws were strangely superstitious about dying with their boots on. Many pleaded with authorities not to forward the news to their mothers that they had died with their boots on.

The term “red light district” came from the Red Light Bordello in Dodge City, Kansas. The front door of the building was paned with red glass, which produced a red glow to the outside world when lit at night. The name carried over to refer to the town’s brothel district.

The famous bandit Black Bart robbed alone and wore socks over his boots so he could not be tracked. His real name was Charles E. Boles and was known as a gentleman outlaw.  He enjoyed writing bits of poetry which he left in empty strongboxes to confuse pursuing lawmen.

On September 8, 1883, Sitting Bull, the main chief of the Lakota tribes, delivered a speech at the celebration of the driving of the last spike in the Northern Pacific railroad joining with the transcontinental system. He delivered the speech in his Sioux language, but instead of reciting the speech originally prepared by an army translator, he denounced the U.S. government, settlers, and army.  The listeners thought he was welcoming and praising them. Sitting Bull would pause for applause periodically, bow, smile, and continue insulting his audience as the translator delivered the original address.

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3 comments to Things You Didn’t Know About The Wild West

  • Misty, this sounds like a great project. Coffin varnish is a new one for me, and it’s great. One more coat, and it’ll be all she wrote.

  • Chris Branch

    Great info Misty! And no, I am pretty sure you did not mention (until now) that there would be open submission slots. 😉

  • I’m very excited about the project, especially because of the open submissions. I’ve already heard from some folks who plan to submit, so I’m hoping we manage to make our funding goal!