Wild West


When we think of manly Western pleasures, we tend to think of dance halls, barrooms and gambling joints. Oftentimes these all resided under the same roof. Then, of course, there were the “ladies of the line,” good-time girls providing another type of pleasure—for a price. There were also church socials, though few trail hands headed for the nearest chapel when they hit town.

For sporting types the most familiar games of chance were faro, keno and poker, played atop beer-stained tables in smoky saloons. All involved a modicum of skill, from high (poker) to practically nil (keno). Virtually absent from mention in the history books are two other popular pastimes indulged in by Western gents—billiards and bowling.

Billiards has somewhat more historical resonance out West, mainly due to its tragic connection to the Earp brothers (see related story, P. 38). On March 18, 1882, Morgan Earp was shot and killed from ambush while “addressing the ball” at the Campbell & Hatch saloon and billiard parlor on Allen Street in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. Brother Wyatt narrowly missed being hit by the same fusillade. The assassination came in the aftermath of the infamous Oct. 26, 1881, shootout near the O.K. Corral, and it prompted Wyatt’s legendary “Vendetta Ride” targeting the killers and their pals.

Billiards was a British import dating from the colonial era. The American version used four balls, including the cue ball, on a large four-pocket table. Players scored points by pocketing balls or caroming the cue ball off two or more balls. The first known significant stake match was held in Detroit’s Fireman’s Hall in 1859—hardly a front-page event. Equipment evolved over the years. The balls were made of rare ivory through 1869, the year

Vous lisez un aperçu, inscrivez-vous pour en lire plus.

Plus de Wild West

Wild West3 min de lecture
Events Of The West
Note: Due to the coronavirus shutdown, some events may be canceled or delayed The bicentennial of the founding of the Santa Fe Trail falls in 2021, as does the 35th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail Association (SFTA). The Bent’s Fort Chapter of the
Wild West12 min de lecture
Hombres Valientes In The Lincoln County War
On Sunday evening July 14, 1878, attorney Alexander McSween and more than 50 armed partisans rode into the town of Lincoln, New Mexico Territory, and took up positions in preparation for a climactic confrontation. It was a showdown months in the maki
Wild West11 min de lecture
A Very Brady Christmas
Death was often a close companion on the high plains of the 19th-century West. Christmastime could be an especially dangerous time for travelers, as storms unexpectedly blew down from the Rocky Mountains across the short grass prairies in deadly grou