• Ride the Devil's Herd

  • Wyatt Earp's Epic Battle Against the West's Biggest Outlaw Gang
  • By: John Boessenecker
  • Narrated by: Stephen Graybill
  • Length: 14 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (238 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The little-known story of how a young Wyatt Earp, aided by his brothers, defeated the Cowboys, the Old West’s biggest outlaw gang.

Wyatt Earp is regarded as the most famous lawman of the Old West, best known for his role in the Gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. But the story of his two-year war with a band of outlaws known as the Cowboys has never been told in full.

The Cowboys were the largest outlaw gang in the history of the American West. After battles with the law in Texas and New Mexico, they shifted their operations to Arizona. There, led by Curly Bill Brocius, they ruled the border, robbing, rustling, smuggling, and killing with impunity until they made the fatal mistake of tangling with the Earp brothers.

Drawing on groundbreaking research into territorial and federal government records, John Boessenecker’s Ride the Devil’s Herd reveals a time and place in which homicide rates were 50 times higher than those today. The story still bears surprising relevance for contemporary America, involving hot-button issues such as gang violence, border security, unlawful immigration, the dangers of political propagandists parading as journalists, and the prosecution of police officers for carrying out their official duties. Wyatt Earp saw it all in Tombstone.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 John Boessenecker (P)2020 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

What listeners say about Ride the Devil's Herd

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    3 out of 5 stars

Tough Listen.

Book starts out at 90mph and every other paragraph the author changes the subject before you have time to digest what they said. On top of that it feels like he is just reading off newspaper articles. Book didn't have a clear timeline and is a major let down. narration is dull and lifeless too.

edit: I just noticed the author also wrote Stagecoaches and Shotguns!! I should've done my homework and noticed that before I bought this book. Both are boring and amateurish.

9 people found this helpful

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Far beyond Hollywood's stories on the subject

This book is a historical account. It doesn't read like a novel, but there are many stories within. It does jump around a bit, but mostly moves forward. Additional details supplied from a time which was already covered usually are given to add further perspective to the 'current' events. I found this detailed, well-researched and un-biased biography of the Earp's and those around them to be informative, entertaining, and enlightening. I prefer biographies that present as many sides to the story as possible, and this one outdoes any reasonable expectation of circumspection.
As for criticism relating to frequent quotes of newspaper articles--1) they often provide the most substantial surviving record of the event. 2) they are used to show the bias and politics of the papers in which they were published and allow the reader to understand what the common citizen had available to them for news. and 3) the author was hardly able to refer the reader to YouTube clips to see for themselves what happened.
If you only want the sanitized basics, watch Tombstone or Wyatt Earp. This book is for those with a serious interest in both the time and the circumstances involving these legendary figures.

6 people found this helpful

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perfect for our times-esp for law enforcement

the best thing about this book is it reminds me that there's nothing new under the sun.

3 people found this helpful

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Well researched, but muddled by politics

What would have been a very positive experience with this book is diminished by the author's insistence on inserting his own opinions into the narrative, which is otherwise thorough and well-researched. This is especially ironic, considering the author routinely criticizes the warring newspapers of Tombstone, whose interpretation of truth is obfuscated by their respective political endorsements. This was only a minor annoyance until the book's conclusion, in which the author takes a startlingly tone-deaf position against police being held legally responsible for their actions as officers of law. This is even more alarming given the lack of even the briefest mention of racism in his mini-rant against the modern cry for police reform. There is plenty to learn from the history of law enforcement in the Old West, regardless of your political leanings, so it's a shame the author didn't learn from the lessons of the Tombstone Epitaph and Nugget newspapers.

From a strictly audio experience, I felt that the narration was much too monotone and might have benefited from a different narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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thumbs up

great book. it puts you right into the actual gunfight's. very pleased. If you're into western history this book will put you there.

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating

Mr. Boessenecker has outdone himself again. After his masterpiece on Frank Hamer, I was really hoping this would compare. It did. He, once again, struck a fair balance of the heroic with all their warts. In doing so, he proves that true history, i.e. stories backed by facts and logic, is more interesting, entertaining and fascinating than the legend that has been passed down.
The only downside to listening is the narrator’s inexcusable mispronunciations of certain towns (along with my petty hang-up of the way he says “county”; which is repeated a hundred times over). You will not regret listening to/reading this book. Bravo!

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Not what you think

Just rambling about men in the old west. Sounds like someone reading a encyclopedia. Not worth the credit

1 person found this helpful

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Objectively Inform, Timely and Highly Entertaining

Boessenecker tells the well researched raw truth about the Earp brothers and their place in American history. The good, the bad and the ugly are all placed out in the open to help us understand the utility and perhaps even the necessity of the type of men that brought law and order to the frontier. The author does the tough job of presenting documented facts in a style as gripping as a gripping tale of fiction.

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The Original "Good Guy Gone Vigilante"

Great history of a brave guy whom you would not want to know (he had a bad side, which gave him what he needed in order to achieve what he did as a lawman). It is also the classic story of the lawman not afraid to confront bad guys who has to go renegade and vigilante in order to pursue the bad guys while outsmarting the law on his heels, in the pockets of the bad guys, out to 'bring him in' (before he can mete out further personal justice)....

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They don't make men like these anymore....

I was hooked from the get go... What a time and way of life all of the people in this book endured. How far we have fallen in some respects and how far we've come in others...

A great listen for anyone..