When it came to restraining outlaws and criminals, nothing was more useful than a trusty set of handcuffs. Lord knows the old west saw more than its share of the criminal element due to lawmen being few and far between.
The ratio was probably something like 1 to 500, especially in the less settled regions. Like Alaska.
This first image was what they would’ve had universally here in the U.S. back in those days.
Some of these would’ve been very tortuous. But then, criminals needed a deterrent of some sort and still do.
These were downright barbaric. I pity anyone who had their wrists inserted into these. Oh my dear Lord!
And this last pair looks really strange but they were extremely cruel. The length was made of intertwined wire or other stiff material. They were drawn tightly around the wrist, either one or both, and held by a man of the law. If the lawman wanted to inflict excruciating pain, he would twist until the wire cut into the lawbreaker’s flesh. Or he could yank.
Then when they GOT you to the jail, things went from bad to worse.
As you can see punishment wasn’t something they took lightly back then. And yet, they had an abundance of crime. Almost the same as it is today. Our prisons are full.
What is your favorite lawman or outlaw in a book or on the screen?
TEXAS MAIL ORDER BRIDE is available for preorder from Amazon.
I don’t know about you, but when I write, I use the word “moment” quite a bit. I never really stopped to think about how long a “moment” was until my first editor for Fire Eyes made me take out a description of a moment—I had deemed it “a long moment”—she let me know that there could be no such thing as a “long moment”—it was either a moment or it wasn’t.
Ever since then, I’ve paid close attention to my writing about “moments”—because it dawned on me that I believed there were more than just one kind of moment. There are the long, awkward pause moments; the quick can’t-believe-I-said-that moments; the long steady stare moments that say “I saw what you did and I know who you are”. There are the moments in between the blink of a firefly’s light in the summer night, and the breathless moments in between the first assault of a tornado’s devastating winds and the eye of the storm. There are the moments that tick by into minutes, and then hours…and hopelessness; and there are the moments of despair that settle quickly only to be lifted by a smile of forgiveness or understanding.
A MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE–Soldiers raise the flag at Iwo Jima–World War II
I subscribe to a funny little newsletter called “Wisegeek” that addresses all manner of subjects, and their piece on “moments” was what prompted this post. Here’s what they had to say about it:
The amount of time in a moment is 90 seconds, or one and a half minutes, according to its usage as a unit of time measurement in medieval times dating back to the 8th century. This was based on the positioning of shadows on a sun dial, in which shadows moved along the dial 40 times in an hour. After the invention of the mechanical clock in the 13th century, a moment was no longer widely used as a specific unit of measurement. Going forward in modern times, a moment began to be used as a figure of speech to refer vaguely to any very brief period of time.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH–Tom is about to give Rance the news that HE wasn’t the one who shot Liberty Valance, after all…
- Time has been measured since at least 1500 BC, which is the first instance of records indicating time measurement through the invention of the sundial by the ancient Egyptians.
- The word clock comes from the medieval Latin word for bell and refers to the bell that was used to signal that it was time for monks to pray.
- The poet Miroslav Holub proposed in 1990 that a moment is the unit of time it takes a person to read a average line of verse
A MOMENT IN HISTORY–Bud and Temple Abernathy, the youngest long riders in history, in their car (ages 11 and 13)
So now that you know what a moment really is, what do you think? Would you define it the same way? How would you measure a moment in your writing? Would there be “long moments”? “Fleeting moments”? “Awkward moments”? I’m of the mind that there can be many different kinds of moments—but it’s clear, not everyone agrees. What do you think?
Here’s a “Moment of Truth” from my upcoming release, SPELLBOUND, a short story that will be included in Prairie Rose Publications’ second volume of Cowboys, Creatures and Calico. There are some wonderful Halloween moments in the old west in all of these stories!
The horse shifted, and as he moved to the side, Angie saw the form of a man lying on her front porch.
“Is it him?” Angie asked in a low tone.
Earlene didn’t answer, and when Angie turned, the girl had tears running down her cheeks.
“Part of me wants him to be alive, but the other part don’t,” Earlene whispered. “He’s liable to be a mean ’un, Ang. And us all alone—”
“Hush up your blathering, Earlie,” Angie said sharply, sparing her a hard glance. “Better be every little part of you down to your wishbone hopin’ for him to be alive, girl. Else, you’d be a murderess.”
Together, they slowly approached the bottom step of the porch.
“And from the looks of him and his gear…he’s not some drifter that will go unnoticed if he disappears. Now, help me get him inside.”
Earlene turned wide eyes on Angie. “But—you’re gonna bring him in our house, Ang?”
“Well, I sure as hell am not gonna leave him here on the porch to freeze to death, little sister! It’s bad enough you shot him! And we’re going to have a talk about that. You and that gun—” She broke off. “Oh, come on. Help me, before he bleeds to death.”
“If he’s a robber, I’ll plug him again,” Earlene said steadfastly as she helped Angie roll the man over onto his back.
Angie bit back her response. Right now, this stranger couldn’t do anyone any harm. His shoulder still oozed blood, but the lump on his head where he’d fallen from his horse was every bit as worrisome. How had he gotten back on?
Just as they leaned over him to take hold of his coat, his eyes opened.
Earlene jerked backward, with a shriek. Angie was startled, but she managed not to scream. His dark, intense gaze held hers, and she felt her bones seem to liquefy and melt.
In spite of his situation, incredibly the corner of his mouth lifted in a rakish grin. “I’ll be damned…”
Authors in this volume besides me include Jacquie Rogers, Kathleen Rice Adams, Kristy McCaffrey, C. Marie Bowen and Kaye Spencer.
Both anthologies, Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico Volumes 1 and 2, are available at Amazon. Here’s the link for Volume 2:
I WILL BE GIVING AWAY A COPY OF VOLUME 2 TODAY TO ONE LUCKY COMMENTER!
My last visit covered my historical travel guide Forts of the Northern Plains – since then, I’ve published two more historical travel books, The Great Plains Guide to Custer (2012) and The Great Plains Guide to Buffalo Bill (2014), all from Stackpole Books. The latest on Buffalo Bill, follows the format used in Custer – it’s the chronological story of William F. Cody’s time and experiences on the plains, from his birth in Iowa through his scouting in Kansas, his creation of the Wild West show in Nebraska, his land development in Wyoming, and his death in Colorado. It tells the story of how he went from a fairly obscure buffalo hunter to becoming the world’s first superstar, interspersed with information on getting to the sites where his history happened. It’s more history than you’d find in a guide, and more travel info than you’d get in a history book, but it’s a marriage that works for me!
I just finished writing Extra Innings: The Story of Rushville’s Modisett Ball Park, a truly amazing story about a small-town ball field that hosted professional ball schools of the Braves, Yankees, and Angels, and I’ve already begun work on my next historical travel guide, this one on the elusive Jesse James. I’d love to visit about any of these subjects!
A bit of background on me – I am a fifth-generation Nebraskan from both parents’ families, with one great-great-grandfather a Civil War veteran and Sand Hills newspaper publisher and another a hunter for two wagon trains through the state. I was raised on a farm near Yutan, Neb., and was graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree and minors in history, geography and political science. My professional career has included radio announcer; newspaper reporter, columnist and editor; press secretary for a former governor of Nebraska; public relations and marketing executive for an Omaha advertising agency and an architectural firm; and marketing director for the Durham Museum, Omaha’s museum of history.
I am a frequently requested speaker through Humanities Nebraska, a past member and chairman of the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission, and former “sheriff” of the Omaha Corral of the Westerners. I’m currently on the board of trustees of the Nebraska State Historical Society which lets me promote and enjoy the history of my state in an even more personal way. In the course of researching, speaking, and meetings, I imagine I’m probably one of the few Nebraskans to visit all 93 of our state’s county courthouses!
I make my home in Omaha with my wife Susan. I have four adult children, all of whom are married and still live in Omaha, and two granddaughters and a grandson – my family’s first seventh-generation Nebraskans. (I know – for those of us with grandkids, I’m a pretty envied guy to have all of them within 15 miles!)
Thank you, Jeff, for joining us here in the Junction. Jeff will be giving away a copy of his latest book The Great Plains Guide to Buffalo Bill to one lucky winner. Leave a comment and you’ll be eligible for the drawing.
Welcome to Excerpt Friday! Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies. So grab a cup of coffee and read on. And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.
From Author Tanya Hanson – OUTLAW IN LOVE (Book 3 in The Lawmen and Outlaws series)
Ahab came to sit beside her, and Teresa suddenly realized how she’d missed him at her side. Just these last few minutes. Her, a nun who should have no such thoughts. Even it was all pretense. Besides, he was an outlaw with a price on his head. Same as her. Whoever found him would find her, too.
The thought brought on a sudden tear.
And a sudden fear. How much was her head worth these days?
His chest still plunged into itself once in a while like he hadn’t yet recovered all the air he needed. Some of the breathlessness, she reckoned, might be the remains of getting shot at this morning but likely he’d lived through such antics before. Her own heart still danced macabre when she thought about their circumstance just an hour ago.
“I’m thinking…” He started slow and didn’t look at her, kept his eyes on the shrinking flickers of the fire. “Found a saddle in the barn. Spade, too. Think I might take one of those horses–“ He pointed to the corral. “–and head over to….” He paused for a long while. “Head over to Nitro and bury him proper. Get the rest of my own gear. Reckon I could leave a pearl or two at this place for purchase. Maybe some food, too. Saw a smoke house.”
“You’d leave me here alone?” Teresa all but shrieked. Dread drenched her. She might have lived in Arizona these past years, but she was foremost a city girl. Her heart sank when the truth hit her. “Oh, I get it. You’re leaving me behind. Like your gang leaves folks behind when they’re too much trouble.”
His face turned that handsome purple she’d seen before. “Not doing any such thing. Reckoned you could wait for me here and rest up some. It’s been a hard trudge. Reckon you’re ankle’s a tad sore.” His voice turned so low she could barely hear him. “I know how to treat a lady.
This man knows the old West. He loves to research and find hidden gems buried in the history books. You might say that Jeff is quite an authority on forts, scouts and general knowledge of the time period.
We’re so thrilled to have him. If there’s anything you wanted to know, you might want to pick his brain.
He’s giving away one of his books.
Join us around the campfire.
That’s Saturday, October 18!