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The Resource "That fiend in hell" : Soapy Smith in legend, Catherine Holder Spude

"That fiend in hell" : Soapy Smith in legend, Catherine Holder Spude

Label
"That fiend in hell" : Soapy Smith in legend
Title
"That fiend in hell"
Title remainder
Soapy Smith in legend
Statement of responsibility
Catherine Holder Spude
Title variation
Soapy Smith in legend
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
As the Klondike gold rush peaked in spring 1898, adventurers and gamblers rubbed shoulders with town-builders and gold-panners in Skagway, Alaska. The flow of riches lured confidence men, too--among them Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith (1860-98), who with an entourage of "bunco-men" conned and robbed the stampeders. Soapy, though, a common enough criminal, would go down in legend as the Robin Hood of Alaska, the "uncrowned king of Skagway," remembered for his charm and generosity, even for calming a lynch mob. When the Fourth of July was celebrated in '98, he supposedly led the parade. Then, a few days later, he was dead, killed in a shootout over a card game. With Smith's death, Skagway rid itself of crime forever. Or at least, so the story goes. Journalists immediately cast him as a martyr whose death redeemed a violent town. In fact, he was just a petty criminal and card shark, as Catherine Holder Spude proves definitively in ""That Fiend in Hell" Soapy Smith in Legend," a tour de force of historical debunking that documents Smith's elevation to western hero. In sorting out the facts about this man and his death from fiction, Spude concludes that the actual Soapy was not the legendary "boss of Skagway," nor was he killed by Frank Reid, as early historians supposed. She shows that even eyewitnesses who knew the truth later changed their stories to fit the myth. But why? Tracking down some hundred retellings of the Soapy Smith story, Spude traces the efforts of Skagway's boosters to reinforce a morality tale at the expense of a complex story of town-building and government formation. The idea that Smith's death had made a lawless town safe served Skagway's economic interests. Spude's engaging deconstruction of Soapy's story models deep research and skepticism crucial to understanding the history of the American frontier
Biography type
individual biography
Cataloging source
DLC
Dewey number
  • 979.8/02
  • B
Government publication
government publication of a state province territory dependency etc
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • maps
Index
index present
LC call number
F914.S7
LC item number
S676 2012
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
Label
"That fiend in hell" : Soapy Smith in legend, Catherine Holder Spude
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Contents
Authentication. -- Conceived in lawlessness -- The committee of one hundred and one -- A con gone wrong -- A lie agreed upon -- The legend. -- The local legend-makers -- The journalists and the memoirs -- Skagway tourism -- A literary legacy -- Legend, heroes, and myth
Control code
ocn784708375
Dimensions
24 cm.
Extent
xv, 276 p.
Isbn
9780806142807
Isbn Type
(hardcover : alk. paper)
Lccn
2012013827
Other control number
40021479943
Other physical details
ill., maps
System control number
(OCoLC)784708375
Label
"That fiend in hell" : Soapy Smith in legend, Catherine Holder Spude
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Contents
Authentication. -- Conceived in lawlessness -- The committee of one hundred and one -- A con gone wrong -- A lie agreed upon -- The legend. -- The local legend-makers -- The journalists and the memoirs -- Skagway tourism -- A literary legacy -- Legend, heroes, and myth
Control code
ocn784708375
Dimensions
24 cm.
Extent
xv, 276 p.
Isbn
9780806142807
Isbn Type
(hardcover : alk. paper)
Lccn
2012013827
Other control number
40021479943
Other physical details
ill., maps
System control number
(OCoLC)784708375

Library Locations

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      41.976964 -91.6624043
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