Jeff Barnes Visits the Junction!

Barnes at Fort LaramieThank you for having me back at Petticoats and Pistols! I really enjoyed my previous visit and am looking forward to this one.


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!


Promotional PosterI 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.

 WF Cody and Wild West

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!)


GPGBB coverThank 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.

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When I'm not keepin' all these Fillies in line, I'm practicing my roping so I can catch me a cowboy. Me and Jasper (my mule) are two peas in a pod. Both of us are as crotchety as all get-out.

24 thoughts on “Jeff Barnes Visits the Junction!”

  1. Good morning! I’m up and writing early on a Saturday, but available to chat throughout the day. And yep, if you leave a comment, you’re eligible for a copy of my latest book, “The Great Plains Guide to Buffalo Bill”!

  2. Thank you for this most interesting post. I love knowing about these helpful guide books and would love to have one. We visited Custer’s Last Stand a few years ago and I know that book would have been a great asset. Thank you for the giveaway.

  3. Hi Jeff! Welcome to the Junction. We’re thrilled to have you back. As one who has to research a lot, I’m glad to find your books. Tons of great information in them. I’ve always been fascinated by Buffalo Bill. Scout for the Army, buffalo hunter, and quite a showman. I think he did an excellent job of trying to preserve the old West.

    I’m going to have to watch for the Jesse James book! I have a feeling there was more to him than being an outlaw.

    Wishing you much success with your books!

  4. Hi Jeff! It is a pleasure to get to know you. I love history and travel, so your books sound like must-reads for me. Thank you so much for sharing your post and giveaway.

  5. Sorry for the delay getting back – Charley (my miniature schnauzer) was insistent on his walk!

    The guides are intended to be helpful to the main attractions in the lives of these personalities, but I love the off-the-beaten-path locations just as much. In many instances, the terrain looks the same as the time Custer and Buffalo Bill were there.

    I often get comments from folks regretting that they forgot to take my books with them when traveling and finding themselves near some of these sites. That’s when I recommend getting two copies – one for home and one for the glove compartment!

  6. Hi Jeff!

    I am an Old West history fan, especially post-Civil War. I’m not familiar with your work before this post. But, I look forward to changing that.

    Hope you stop byP&P again soon.

  7. Thank you for your post. You are a new face to me and I must say that I am amazed that anyone can trace their family back five or seven generations and know and love their roots so well.
    I really am ignorant on Nebraska history but your books sound like a great source of information.

    • Thanks, Rosie! I do want to say that my books cover the Great Plains and not just Nebraska (although Nebraska is my first love). The Custer book goes from Louisiana to Little Bighorn in following his footsteps!

  8. Enjoyed reading the comments. I grew up in Southeastern Colorado not far from old Bent’s Fort. Lots of history there.

  9. Hi Jeff! Wow, what an interesting post! Your mix of love for baseball and the west reminds me of another friend of mine, Johnny D. Boggs.

    You’ve sure led an interesting life and your books look phenomenal–surely going on my TO BUY AND READ list right now.

    Thanks so much for joining us here at P&P–we’re glad to have you, and I’m anxious to get these books and “get to reading!”


    • Thanks, Cheryl. Yes, it’s been an interesting life, and I left half of it out of the bio! I appreciate the nice comments… and good luck on the drawing for “Buffalo Bill”!

  10. Hi Jeff! Nice to meet you!???? I am a history buff and I dabble in my family’s genealogy. As a child my folks took our family up to Custer’s Last Stand. It’s been so long and I remember very little I really would love to go back to see it again. Also from a person from a neighboring state this Missourian says, “GO HUSKERS!”

    • Hi Lisa – I’ve been to Little Bighorn five times now and will return next year to present at the Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Symposium. Love that country and the symposium is a fun four-day event!

  11. Hi Jeff, what great books and family history! I went to college in Nebraska and just loved the four seasons. Snow, falling leaves, lilacs in the spring…beautiful country. Sooo glad you can spend the day in Wildflower Junction!

  12. What a fascinating post. The Old West is captivating to read about and interests me greatly. Many thanks for this interesting information.

  13. History is always so enthralling to learn about. We live in a state rich with history and the drives we took were memorable. Best wishes and much happiness.

  14. It’s always my hope that after folks buy my books that they DO visit these sites. There are so many of these locations that need visitors to keep their doors open.

  15. Your books are perfect for the way we travel. We look for the historic sites and trails. An area is more than the scenery. We like to know who lived there and what happened in the area. We tend not to stay on the interstate. You see so much more off the beaten path. I try to plan our trips and routes to include as much as possible, but we have been know to make rather long detours to track down a site we just found out about. Our souvenirs are books about the people and history of the area we visit.
    Thank you for doing books like this. Knowing the complete history of a person makes their actions later in life more understandable if not approved of. It also is a way to see how the area influenced them and what influence they had on the areas where they lived and passed through. I hope to see many more books like this.

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