Letter: Once upon a time, there was this cowboy . . .

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The Independent Online
Sir: I must protest at the preposterous tosh contained in the extracts from Bill Bryson's book about the American West.

Of course the wagons were gathered in a circle when under attack by Indians. How do I know? Because I have seen it in hundreds of Westerns. And, from the same source, I know that the Indians always posed on the skyline before attacking in order to give the homesteaders time to prepare themselves. Mr Bryson's statement that Dodge City was about as lawless as an old folks' home in Tunbridge Wells is also manifest nonsense.

Next he will be trying to tell us that not all the sheriffs were as honourable as Gary Cooper or that the bar-girls didn't have legs like Marlene Dietrich. Is nothing sacred?

May I suggest that you follow the advice given to James Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: 'When the facts get in

the way of the legend, print the legend.'

Yours sincerely,


Upper Hayton, Shropshire

2 July