Cover image for The real wild west : the 101 Ranch and the creation of the American West
The real wild west : the 101 Ranch and the creation of the American West
Wallis, Michael, 1945-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xvii 652 pages, 48 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), 1 map ; 25 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 9.9 40.0 43147.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F704.A15 W34 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
F704.A15 W34 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
F704.A15 W34 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Founded in 1893, the 101 Ranch in Oklahoma embodied the spirit of the frontier for the entire nation. The ranch's troupe of cowboys and cowgirls performed before packed audiences across the country, and 101 ranchhands starred in many of the first silent Westerns ever made.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

According to Wallis, the legendary 101 Ranch was the embodiment of the romantic image of the American West. Formally established in 1893 by Colonel George Washington Miller, the 101 Ranch incorporated more than 100,000 acres of prime Oklahoma grassland and stretched across four counties. In addition to their livestock, farming, and oil interests, the Miller family also operated an extraordinarily popular Wild West show featuring a "rollicking company of buckaroos, wranglers, ropers, trick shooters, and wild horse riders." Some of the more memorable characters to visit the ranch or to perform with the show included Geronimo, Buffalo Bill, Lucille Mulhall, Will Rogers, and Tom Mix. A victim of its own success as well as its own excess, the overextended Miller empire crumbled when it suffered a series of devastating economic blows in the mid-1930s. Still, during its turn-of-the-century heyday, the 101 Ranch represented virtually the only locale in the country where the "West of the imagination collided and merged with the West of reality." --Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

After reading Wallis's lively history, even readers who had never heard of the 101 Ranch will feel as if they've known of it all their lives. At its height, George W. Miller's 101 Ranch, so named in 1893, covered 110,000 acres in what is now Oklahoma. It was not only a ranching empire but also a western legend. In fact, as Wallis (Route 66: the Mother Road) tells it, the 101 played a critical role in creating the West as it came to exist in the American popular imagination. The 101 staged elaborate Wild West shows and was largely responsible for Hollywood's infatuation with the West (which in turn was responsible for the country's infatuation). Will Rogers, Tom Mix and the famous African-American cowboy Bill Pickett performed in the 101's shows, and the ranch itself was a favorite filming location for many early Hollywood westerns. Readers will quickly turn the pages, as Wallis portrays larger-than-life characters such as Lucille Mulhall, billed as the "original cowgirl," of whom Wallis writes: "Weighing less than a pair of fancy Mexican saddles, Lucille not only threw steers and busted broncs but also stalked prairie wolves, branded cattle, and roped as many as eight running range horses at once. She was an absolute showstopper." Miller's sons kept the 101 alive until the Depression, after which the ranch was divided into small farms. Full of amazing storiesÄvirtually a who's who of popular Western cultureÄWallis's book tells a tale of people in whom genuine accomplishment and show-biz promotion fused in a marriage as quintessentially American as the idea of the Wild West itself. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

After fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War, George Washington Miller left his native Kentucky and, like many other Southerners, set out West. Building a new fortune by bringing up herds of cattle from Texas, he and his sons eventually established the 101 RanchÄone of the biggest, most famous, and longest-lived of the old WestÄnear the present Ponca City, OK. The Miller brothers were early pioneers in the rodeo business; Bill Pickett, the famous black cowboy who created the sport of steer wrestling, rode and performed for the 101, which ran a renowned Wild West show for many years that included nearby Ponca and Otoe Indians. (During oil boom times, it was charged that the Millers obtained oil leases from Indians in unscrupulous ways.) The Millers also provided many riders and stock for early Western movies. Wallis (Route 66: The Mother Road, St. Martin's, 1990) has written a lively account of this fascinating family that in many ways exemplified the best and worst of the Old West and helped translate it into popular mythology. Highly recommended.ÄCharles V. Cowling, Drake Memorial Lib., Brockport, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.