Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, and John Wayne: what do these famous men have in common? To learn the answer to this question and many more interesting facts, attend the Arizona Humanities program “Arizona’s Wild West Myths and Legends” on Monday, December 11, at 1:30 p.m. at the Church of the Nazarene, 55 Rojo Drive in the Village of Oak Creek.
Legends have grown up around Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, and John Wayne. From the Western dime novels of the 1800s to modern-day books, movies, and television shows, writers have altered, exaggerated, and sometimes just plain lied about the stories of these folk heroes. As the newspaper editor in the film “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” says, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
During this presentation, historian Jim Turner will examine how the legends grew and how they impact the way we view the past, act in the present, and build the future. Using books, movie scripts, oral histories, anecdotes, and historic photographs, Turner discusses the origins of Wild West myths and how publishers and Hollywood expanded them into what today historians fondly refer to as “fakelore.”
Learn why Western dime novels came into being and how they served to create instant legends as the Indian conflicts, range wars, and stagecoach attacks were taking place in Arizona and New Mexico. The presenter will also talk about those who penned the legends: “Writers of the Purple Sage” like Zane Gray, Ned Buntline, Owen Wister, and Karl May.
Jim Turner has been researching and teaching Arizona history for more than 40 years. Before retiring from the Arizona Historical Society, he worked with more than 70 museums in every corner of the state. He is co-author of the history textbook The Arizona Story and is author of the pictorial history book, Arizona: Celebration of the Grand Canyon State.
Funded by Arizona Humanities and Friends of the Sedona Library, the “Arizona Wild West Myths and Legends” presentation is free and open to the public. Donations are always welcome! The program’s location offers plenty of parking and seating. For more information about this program, please contact Cheryl Yeatts at Sedona Public Library in the Village at 928.284.1603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for supporting library services in the Village of Oak Creek.
Sedona Public Library is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. We are grateful for the support of the City of Sedona, Yavapai and Coconino Counties, businesses and foundations, and individuals like you. Your tax-deductible donation may be sent to: Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona, Arizona 86336.
Village News appears monthly in The Villager and is also presented on Sedona Biz.
By Cheryl Yeatts
Cheryl Yeatts is Manager of Sedona Public Library in the Village.