Friday, March 22, 2013

Wanton West is Not My Montana

Wanton West: 
Madams, Money, Murder and the Wild Women of Montana's Frontier
The title pretty much sells the book.

I'm currently reading this book for background on a character, but the more I read, the more fascinated I become (so far there's nothing dirty, graphic, or otherwise risque in the book, so don't get any ideas). Corruption, greed, and loose women aren't subjects I tend to find fascinating. HOWEVER, history is fascinating, even if it comes in the form of less than reputable people. They have lives too, and made up a large portion of the population in the west. 

I've been doing a lot of research for Gallagher's Choice (current work in progress), more so than my other books, and learning all kinds of interesting things. 

For instance . . . 

Did you know that a person couldn't just walk into some fancy office in the old west and say, "Hey, I want to be a US Marshal." That would certainly have been much simpler to write, but since I can't get away with fudging history that much, I had to do my research.  Okay, I may have fudged it a teeny, tiny bit.

And geez--do you have any idea how many lawmen started out as outlaws, or how many lawmen turned into outlaws? Seemed to be a trend.  This actually came in handy for the story.

In the 19th century, when mining boomed, the city of Butte attracted workers from Cornwall, Ireland, Wales, England, Lebanon, Canada, Finland, Austria, Serbia, Italy, China, Syria, Croatia, Montenegro, Mexico, and all areas of the USA. Personally I'm not a fan of Butte, Montana, but the colorful history makes for good reading. Most of the most wealthy mining kings in this country, according to research, came out of Montana during the late nineteenth-century.

80% of what I research doesn't make into the book, but it is fascinating. For now, I'll share a little of the Montana I know and love, caught on a morning walk.

No madams or murder on this morning walk. Only ducks making pretty patterns in the water.

All is quiet (and a little brown) in our corner of Montana. I'm the one wishing for more snow and gloom while most everyone else is wishing for sunshine and summer days. I say, "don't rush the seasons!"

A little stroll down to the river. There's a big sign posted down by the water warning about sudden changes in water level--it's worth ignoring.

My west isn't wanton, but what stories those people must have had! I'll keep up my research and let you know what I think of the book once I'm done.

Do you enjoy reading stories about interesting people? Do you have a favorite?

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