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John Ringo
The Gunfighter Who Never Was
By Jack Burrows
242 pp. / 6.00 in x 9.00 in / 1996
Paper (978-0-8165-1648-3)
Related Interest
  - Western Americana / Regional Interest

He was the deadliest gun in the West. Or was he? Ringo: the very name has come to represent the archetypal Western gunfighter and has spawned any number of fictitious characters laying claim to
In an engaging style, Burrows shoots down the romantic myth that Ringo was a deadeye gunman with evidence based on years of careful research.

—American West

The product of a three-decade search for facts, this entertaining and easy-to-read book is likely to stand forever as the final significant word concerning the myth surrounding one of Arizona's most notorious gunmen, a 'vicious and dangerous drunk' who might well have been forgotten were it not for the euphony of his name.

—Books of the Southwest

This well-reasoned analysis of a major Western myth is an important contribution to the history of the West.

—Library Journal

The wealth of new information Burrows has unearthed helps put Ringer in proper perspective. In addition, the author's analysis of how the gunfighter myth developed should invite a wider audience than the somewhat specialized subject would indicate.


This book is an absolute must for students of Western outlaws and makes mighty fine reading for the 'armchair cowpoke.'

—The Californians

Burrows has done a masterful job of collecting information about the elusive Western figure, John Ringo, and shows not only the man but the web of myth that has spun around him in the last century.

—The Book Reader

authenticity. John Ringo's place in western lore is not without basis: he rode with outlaw gangs for thirteen of his thirty-two years, participated in Texas's Hoodoo War, and was part of the faction that opposed the Earp brothers in Tombstone, Arizona. Yet his life remains as mysterious as his grave, a bouldered cairn under a five-stemmed blackjack oak. Western historian Jack Burrows now challenges popular views of Ringo in this first full-length treatment of the myth and the man. Based on twenty years of research into historical archives and interviews with Ringo's family, it cuts through the misconceptions and legends to show just what kind of man Ringo really was.

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