Friday Night Dialogues: ‘The Wickedest Town in the American West’


COURTESY PHOTO | Author Tom Clavin tells how gunfighters tamed the West. At the library, March 31.

Dodge City, Kansas in the 1870’s was known as the most violent and turbulent town in the American West. On Friday, March 31 at 7 p.m., New York Times bestselling author Tom Clavin will appear at the Shelter Island Library to discuss and sign copies of his newest book “Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West.”

Mr. Clavin gives us a rough and tumble tale that has gone largely untold, until now. Clavin’s well researched story tells how two fabled gunfighters — Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson — brought law and order to a town full of depraved and criminal denizens. It’s a story of their friendship, romances, gunfights and adventures. The remarkable cast of characters they encountered along the way includes legends such as Wild Bill Hickok, Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid, and President Theodore Roosevelt.

While doing research for his book, Mr. Clavin discovered that many of the legends surrounding Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were not true. However, the real events were often far more exciting. Stories on how the West was won, have been handed down through years of romanticized lore and cowboy yarns or lost in the haze of Hollywood films and Western fiction. Mr. Clavin presents us with the fascinating true story of Dodge City’s history.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Clavin’s book brims with a colorful collection of real outlaws, sex workers, gamblers, and chorus dancers whose personalities, deeds, and even nicknames help readers understand why the Western legend entranced the nation in the first place. To know the history of Dodge City is to understand how the West was won, and this history is often just as captivating and strange as the legends that have supplanted it.”

Mr. Clavin grew up on Long Island and currently lives in Sag Harbor. He has worked as a newspaper and website editor, magazine writer, TV and radio commentator, and a reporter for the New York Times. He has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and National Newspaper Association. His books include “The Heart of Everything That Is,” “Halsey’s Typhoon” and “The DiMaggios.”

To learn a little more about the fascinating place that was Dodge City, please join us on the March 31 at 7 p.m. at the Library. Admission is free with donations gladly accepted.

Next up for Friday Night Dialogues: On Friday, April 7 at 7 p.m. we will celebrate National Poetry Month with Bliss Morehead’s “POETRY NATION – Poets Look for America.