The Fighting Horse of the Stanislaus

The Fighting Horse of the Stanislaus

Stories and Essays by Dan De Quille

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283 pages, 6 photos, 6 drawings
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"Mr. Berkove…gives us a well-organized selection of De Quille's work, a review of the research involved in locating it and a bibliography. The scholars can hardly ask for more. But what about the general reader? With us, De Quille and his writing must stand alone. And, with some exceptions in the fiction category, most of these pieces stand very well indeed…The best of the book for nonscholarly readers are the sections Mr. Berkove labels 'History and Description' and 'Colorful Characterizations.' They include some clear-eyed looks at the way things were when the Comstock lode was making some Americans immensely rich. 'The Wealth of Washoe,' a vivid 1961 account of a visit to a silver mine, is worth the price of admission alone."—New York Times Book Review

"The majority of those gathered around the lair of Timothy's pet Bengal were the fiery sons of the chivalrous South; men of the half-horse, half-alligator strain. To guide his bark and ride serene in the midst of this turbulent element taxed the peculiar genius of Timothy to the utmost, yet he was equal to the situation."—Dan De Quille, Tongue-Oil Timothy Dead

Tongue-Oil Timothy, as unflappable as he is unconscionable, swindles Wasatch Sam in a villainous poker game. Amazed prospectors discover a full-grown silver man deep in a mountain tunnel. Old Pizen, a horse so mean that he was almost poison to himself, is wagered by his owner in the fight of his life. The traveling stones of Pahranagat, when scattered about the ground, immediately huddle together like eggs in a nest. Highly eccentric but shrewd, itinerant preacher Lorenzo Dow raises the devil. A cheery-voiced goblin frog points the way toward the great Comstock silver lode. These tongue-in-cheek creations join Bendix Bairgo, the Seven Nimrods of the Sierras, a Female World-Ranger, and Dan De Quille's other unforgettable characters to make the pioneers and Comstockers come alive once more.

Dan De Quille (1829-1898), who lived in Virginia City, Nevada, for most of his forty-year career, was a nationally recognized author and journalist who along with his friend and colleague, Mark Twain, helped create a distinctly American brand of humor. The most talented Far West humorist of his time—he specialized in manufacturing scientific hoaxes—De Quille also superbly recorded the epic personalities and exploits of the first generation of western prospectors and settlers. In this definitive anthology, Lawrence Berkove has carefully selected works that reveal anew De Quille's sympathetic yet biting talent, which captured western America in legends, folklore, and unique and enduring humor.