William Frank Carver was a renowned shooter in the wild west, generally called Doc Carver for his (unused) dentistry training (or possibly his time caring for animals when he was younger [Google books preview]). He went on to put on shooting and wild west exhibitions with Buffalo Bill and others (source). To expand his shows, he turned to other feats of showmanship, including horse diving. Eventually, horse diving eclipsed the rest of the shows, and Doc added his son and daughter to the events. His son Al built the ramp and diving apparatus, while his daughter Lorena was the first “girl on the diving horse.” Going forward, most of the notable divers were young ladies, including Sonora Webster, who joined the show in 1923. She went blind from a diving accident in 1931, but continued to dive until 1942. There's not much video of diving horses due to the whole practice losing general support and/or appeal well before the proliferation of personal video cameras, but here is a short clip of 19 year old "Jackie" Carvan diving 60 feet on a horse from 1923, and two horses diving without riders in the mid-1960s. [more inside]
The stories and pictures of the Wild West commonly feature white men, with little notion of the diversity present in the later half of the 19th century beyond the various regiments of "buffalo soldiers". In reality, black cowboys made up a large portion of the cowhand population, possibly a quarter of all cowboys. Estimations range from 5,000 to 15,000 cowboys being of African heritage. Many have been forgotten in the passing of time, but some of their stories live on. For instance, the cowboy Nat Love, the outlaw Cherokee Bill, and (all sorts of awesome) "Stagecoach" Mary Fields. [more inside]
Wanted: Jonah Hex - on making a movie prop, and a little about actual Old West wanted posters.
The Lonesome Stranger: An All-Monkey Western!
I regard myself as a woman who has seen much of life. Belle Starr, also known as the Bandit Queen, was a well-educated "spoiled, rich girl" who grew up to prefer the company of outlaws. Her unconventional life inspired song lyrics [1, 2, 3, 4], movies [1, 2, 3], even manga [1, 2].
Ghost Cowboy :: True Tales of Adventure in the American West
No time for Idle Hands :25 original paintings and drawings commemorating 19th-Century Women of the Plains & Prairies. (via)
Taming the Wild West Net. The Washington Post takes a stab at the internet and what's been going on the last year +. Also, a roundup of piracy and antitrust issues. Good series of articles, except no real conclusion on how the "Wild West Net" should be tamed. Or why it has to be.