The least discussed topic in Dodge City is Dodge City

Dodge City by Tom Clavin

Reviewed for Netgalley

The blurb and title of this book are severely misleading. Claiming to be an account of the days when Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson came to Dodge to help friend Luke Short, it is instead a collection of stories of a variety of places, people, and occurrences in the Old West.

One hundred pages in, and the tale hasn’t reached Dodge yet. Instead, readers have gotten a history of the Earps, the Mastersons, the killing of the buffalo, brief accounts of forts in the location that would one day become Dodge City, and lots of Old West name dropping. The pace is glacial, and the author cannot stay on topic.

Having finally reached Part Two, I thought we might get a glimpse of the Dodge City that the legendary lawmen teamed up together to tame, but no. Instead, we get brief accounts of outlaws who passed through Dodge City at some point, but none of the incidents written about actually took place in Dodge. This is followed by Samuel Colt and his creation of the famous Walker Colt six-shooter and then we’re right back to buffalo hunting.

Finally, after a 122 pages, Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson become lawmen in the lawless Dodge City. Unfortunately, the pace does not pick up at that point. Despite being quite a history buff, I found my interest lagging more and more. The writing is all over the place with very little focus and too many side stories that add nothing to the subject matter that was promised in the blurb. This book would be better marketed as a collection of short truths about the Old West and the characters who made it so infamous.