Hornswogglers, Fourflushers & Snake-Oil Salesmen: True Tales of the Old West's Sleaziest Swindlers

Hornswogglers, Fourflushers & Snake-Oil Salesmen: True Tales of the Old West's Sleaziest Swindlers

Matthew P. Mayo

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0762789654

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Everyone loves a heel, especially one to whom nothing was sacred and who charmed his or her way into the hearts, minds, and wallets of bumpkins and belles alike. Hornswogglers, Fourflushers, and Snake-Oil Salesmen offers dozens of tales of petty bandits, sleazy bunko artists, and conniving conmen (and conwomen!) who traveled West to seek their fortunes by preying on those who went before them to settle and explore. 
Hornswogglers, Fourflushers, and Snake-Oil Salesmen tells who these nefarious ne'er-do-wells were, what they did, and why they are remembered, and each chapter is illustrated with engaging historic photos and illustrations of the shady characters at work and play. 
Caution: Lock up your wallet before reading!

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fabrication, and all the while Scott enjoyed himself at the expense of his patron, to the tune of $5,000. Knowing that his repeated excuses and lies had worn thin with the gullible but frustrated patron, Scott hatched yet another devilish scheme, at the same time unwittingly gaining himself the national attention he craved. Scott sent word of good news to his investor—he was headed east with a sack of gold dust, $12,000 worth, in fact. When he arrived in the Big Apple, however, he shouted high

visit the mine himself. Scott decided that the only way he could keep Johnson on the hook was to make the visit particularly exhausting—not a difficult thing to do in Death Valley. He took Johnson on a grueling horseback tour through Death Valley. But Johnson surprised him, even though he suffered weak health from a train wreck he barely survived as a young man. Indeed, Johnson fell in love with the sunny, dry place and stayed for a month. He felt great and his health conditions improved. Even

though it became quickly apparent he was being swindled, primarily because they never seemed to arrive at a mine, he and Scotty hit it off. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. And it was an odd pairing at that, Scotty being a man fond of drink and outright lies, while Johnson was a teetotaler and a pious, churchgoing man. You’d think Scott would quit while he was ahead, but not a chance. Once a thief, always a thief. And in Scotty’s case, he devolved even further, going from swindling

played at this variation on the more common shell game (three walnut shells and a dried pea), Bennett developed such a high degree of skill, most notably in palming the ball of paper, then placing it under whichever thimble he wished, that he ensured he would never lose. And it is said that he never did. Much of Bennett’s success lay in his passive approach to the game. He would sit quietly whisking the thimbles and ball around in a crazy-eight pattern. Eventually this would attract the

officer; but after finding the officer determined to take him, he walked along for a short distance, when he showed desperate fight, and it was not until the officer had tied his hands together that he was able to convey him to the police office. On the prisoner being taken before Justice McGrath, he was recognized as an old offender by the name of Wm. Thompson, and is said to be a graduate of the college at Sing Sing. The magistrate committed him to prison for a further hearing. It will be well

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