Kit Carson: Indian Fighter or Indian Killer? by R. C. Gordon-Mccutchan

By R. C. Gordon-Mccutchan

This quantity brings jointly a exclusive staff of members who discover the most recent ancient examine on Carson, probably the most greatly respected and recognized of America's frontier heroes.

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Yet in this masculine success story of adventure, individualism, action, and violence, women generally play passive roles, either as love objects or as weaker souls dependent upon male heroes for their survival. In fact, the chief function of the dime novel woman is to be protected and rescued by male protagonists. She is not totally devoid of strength of character, however. 33She shows courage in ways appropriate to her sex. She does not complain about her circumstances, for example, and the source of her strength comes from her faith in God and Kit Carson.

The original dime novels appeared in 1860, the creation of the New York publishing firm Beadle & Adams, consisting of the brothers Erastus Page 2 and Irwin Beadle and Robert Adams. Malaeska; The Indian Wife of the White Hunter, by Ann S. Stephens, introduced the series in June and set the tone for later publications. In this action-packed story, the hero, William Danforth, shoots down a host of"savage Indians" while rescuing his Indian wife, Malaeska, from their clutches. Combining romance and adventure, Malaeska sold at least a half million copies.

To a certain extent, that fascination persists to this day, over 125 years after Carson's death, although the adulation so common in the nineteenth century and for much of the twentieth is conspicuously absent. Indeed, the man frozen in my photo has become an entirely different personage to many Americans. " 1 Born Christopher Houston Carson in 1809, Kit's first encounter with notoriety came when he ran away from a dull apprenticeship with a saddler, David Workman, in Franklin, Missouri, in 1826.

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