“Charlie Russell, The Cowboy Years,” Second Edition. By Jane Lambert
When you have a character – in more ways than one – like Charles M. “Charlie” Russell, it is hard to get everything you wanted said in one book. Thus it is with Jane Lambert and her second edition.
Lambert gives some further details on a couple of events in Charlie’s life from the first edition; plus discusses more of his “cronies.”
We have an expression that an event can get “western,” meaning it is anything BUT routine and mundane. Apparently a couple of Russell’s cronies were involved in divorces – “western” style.
One crony left town before he suffered an unexplained death at the hands of his wife, this not being her first time. Another one was “divorced” as a result of a shootout – she fired first, but he was a better shot.
Another crony that Lambert wrote about was a hand, later a foreman, for the O Circle outfit both at their Marias River location and just across the border at their Alberta location.
I found this one really interesting because, while researching for an article I wrote on the early days of Fort Benton, I found out the Circle outfit was one of the reasons the Montana Department of Livestock and its counterpart in Alberta came up with a law that a ranch on both sides of the border cannot have the same brand. It had to do with taking a tally of the livestock at tax time. It wasn’t done at the same time in both places, and the cattle had a tendency to drift.
Charlie Russell lived at an interesting time, and knew a lot of people in various walks of life. Once again, if you are a student of the Old West, this book is an ideal example of “and the saga continues.”