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Daniel Buck
Re: Longabaugh and New Mexico
Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:19am

Thanks for the post. Your reference to Allan Swallow & Waller Brown sparked memories; they were two of the first writers Annie & I bumped into (figuratively, not actually) when we first entered the murky world of outlaw history back in the mid 1980s.

Best I can tell, Swallow's 1966 book, The Wild Bunch, which lists him as editor, not author, was based on Frank Lamb's alleged manuscript supposedly dictated by Harvey Logan, a manuscript that has never been seen and might not in fact have ever existed. Here's an excerpt my email to a colleague last year, about the tangled Swallow tale:

Haven't read Swallow's The Wild Bunch (1966) in a long time. In his introduction. p. 9., Swallow says that his book is based on a manuscript by a writer, not named, who had been in touch with "persons who knew members of the Wild Bunch." In 1986, I queried a veteran Denver book dealer about Swallow. The dealer in turn contacted a woman who "used to do some work for Alan Swallow." The woman responded: "Alan Swallow did not write the book in the strictest sense. He did have the information from an elderly gentleman . . . [ellipses in original] and Swallow rewrote as needed for readability and grammar, but he did not research the material nor did he alter facts as presented by the other individual, who should remain anonymous. So there it must rest, in good faith."

Montana book dealer Jim Dullenty wrote in a 2002 catalog that Swallow's book "was said to have been written by Frank Lamb, father of F. Bruce Lamb, who is the author of the more recent Kid Curry, The Life and Times of Harvey Logan. And Frank Lamb, with other members of his family, was supposed to have gotten the story directly from Logan when he stayed at their ranch during the winter before the 1904 Parachute robbery attempt."

In his bibliography, Smokov (2012) lists Frank Lamb as the author of The Wild Bunch. Frank Lamb's son, F. Bruce Lamb, wrote a book Kid Curry: The Life and Times of Harvey Logan and the Wild Bunch (1991), based in part on his father's manuscript, which he said had been published as The Wild Bunch (1966), Alan Swallow, ed. Don't think I've ever done a serious comparison of Swallow's and F. Bruce Lamb's books. Gary Wilson, Outlaw Tales of Montana (1995), says that the two Lamb efforts "contradict each other and conflict with" known facts, and that he doubts the central story, that Logan stayed at the Lamb ranch, winter of 1903-4. Smokov mentions Frank Lamb only in passing, twice.

More complications. In an 1995 WOLA Journal essay, "Where, Oh Where, Has Kid Curry Gone?" Dullenty writes, based I guess on a communication from F. Bruce Lamb, that "a manuscript dictated by Harvey Logan . . . to a member of the Lamb family [during that winter] . . . was lost in the mail," but that Frank Lamb "remembered enough of it and disclosed enough of it to Bruce so that they could contend that their books were based on Kid Curry's own words." Dullenty concludes that neither Lamb book had anything to do with anything Logan might have said.

The above excerpt illustrates perfectly the murky world of outlaw history. A telephone game in which half the participants are not listening and the other half are hard of hearing. To give one example of Swallow's unreliability, or perhaps better put, the unreliability of his source material, just before mentioning that Sundance "is supposed to have come from Texas with a trail herd," which could be true in one vague sense or the other, Swallow says that Sundance "came to Hole-in-the-Wall about 1894 or 1895 after killing a deputy sheriff near Sundance, Wyoming," which is not true. He came to Sundance in 1887 or so, and in any event never killed a deputy sheriff. Not too surprising, all things being equal: a book based on a manuscript that might not have existed based on an outlaw's dictation that probably never have happened.

Waller Brown's background I know little about, but you are correct that his summary of SK's early career and ethnic background is straight from the 1901 Montana newspaper articles following the Wagner holdup. Dan

  • Longabaugh and New MexicoBob Goodwin, Fri Mar 16 4:16pm
    Chris' discovery of the mention of H.A. Longabaugh in the dead letter list was a good find. However, the story that Longabaugh had been in New Mexico before traveling north to Montana and Wyoming in... more
    • Re: Longabaugh and New Mexico — Daniel Buck, Sat Mar 17 7:19am
      • Re: Longabaugh and New Mexicogobby git, Sat Mar 17 10:26am The literature on this small but highly skilled and successful gang is quite extensive. The two leading documents are James D. Horanís Desperate Men, based on... more
        • Re: Longabaugh and New MexicoDaniel Buck, Sat Mar 17 10:49am
          Thanks. C.L. Sonnichsen is another great Western writer from the recent past. Here's the first part of his review: "The Wild Bunch. Edited by Alan Swallow. (Denver: Sage Books, 1966. 136 pages.... more
          • Re: Longabaugh and New Mexicogobby git, Sat Mar 17 11:56am
            Thanks Dan ... had the first part but not the third part after it trails off ... thought the bit about Loganís attorney, Sam Haskell, former mayor of Knoxville might be of interest ... no help with... more
            • Re: Longabaugh and New MexicoDaniel Buck, Sat Mar 17 12:29pm
              Thanks. Yes, the Haskell idea is interesting. Whoever Brown Waller was, he mentions in his acknowledgement having visited libraries, archives, & historical societies in more than 20 Western US... more
              • Brown WallerBob Goodwin, Sat Mar 17 4:32pm
                If the "New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors" is to be has Brown Waller as a pseudonym of Waller Brown Fraser, with birth date of 29 April 1905. If this is correct then he was... more
                • Re: Brown WallerDaniel Buck, Sat Mar 17 6:08pm
                  Bob, where oh where did you fish out the part about Fraser going bonkers in his dotage? That was some serious angling. Dan
                  • re: Brown WallerBob Goodwin, Sat Mar 17 9:27pm
                    The Tampa Tribune 20 Oct 1973, The Tribune also has his death notice 6 Jan 1974. Walter wrote a thesis at the University of Tennessee for his Master degree in 1930. It was titled "The Political... more
                • Re: Brown WallerDaniel Buck, Sat Mar 17 5:39pm
                  Bob, Thanks. What a story. He must have spent every waking minute researching because if his acknowledgements are to be believed, he visited more than 20 libraries, historical societies, and... more
                  • re: Brown WallerBob Goodwin, Sun Mar 18 9:35am
                    Dan, We have to remember when Brown Waller wrote his manuscript (before 1966) internet research was non-existent and research in major libraries was more limited than what we have today. He just... more
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