Richard Griswold del Castillo, Book Review Editor
Knights of the Green Cloth: The Saga of Frontier Gamblers.
Robert K. De Arment. Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992. 423 pages.
Gambling and professional gamblers in the history of the West evoke a romantic and stereotyped image of a group of crooked and unsavory men in a smoky bar room surrounded by honky tonk music and bar girls. But this is an image that comes to us from television and the movies. In this book we are given biographical vignettes of scores of men and women who were the real life gamblers of the old West. De Arment divides them into groups of “Aces,” men who were unusual in their skill and who were widely respected, “Kings,” men who amassed fortunes through their trade, “Queens,” rugged women who entered the profession and gained notoriety and “Knaves,” the dishonest gamblers of the old West. This delightful book is based on thorough scholarship. It may, however, disappoint those who are interested in the details of Wyatt Earp’s “retirement” in San Diego.