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“Amusing, informative writing filled with original detail, this book makes a great addition to any collector’s Old West library.”—Chronicle of the Old West
“Hard Knocks is a wonder to read and a reminder of the glory and sometimes gory days of the Wild West.”—Deadwood Magazine
“Ninety years later, [Hard Knocks] is worth a look in the 21st century.”—South Dakota Magazine
Hard Knocks is an "entertaining read."—The Chronicles of Oklahoma
With two dollars and fifty cents in his pocket, Harry (“Sam”) Young left his New York home in 1862 at age fourteen to see the Wild West he had read about in dime novels. For the next thirteen years, he experienced gold rushes, railroad booms, homesteading, and cowboy life, meeting some of his heroes, like Wild Bill Hickok, and working as a mule driver, buffalo skinner, night watchman, bartender, and general handyman from Arkansas to Alaska. In 1875, Young and Calamity Jane rode the lead wagon into the Black Hills of Dakota Territory on the Jenney Expedition. During the 1876 gold rush, he was a bartender at Deadwood’s Saloon No. 10 and an eyewitness when Hickok was shot during a card game. Told from the perspective of a working man, Hard Knocks captures the squalor and excitement of the frontier West.
Long out of print, this memoir is updated with a new introduction by James D. McLaird, who points out the book’s accuracies as well as its exaggerations.