The Untold History of Billy the Kid
James O. Easterbrook (1936-2011) lived the history of the Old West. A graduate of Toledo University, he served honorably in the U.S. Air Force for three years upon receiving his commission at graduation through ROTC. He next achieved executive status in the insurance industry at a young age, and retired early to devote his life to researching and teaching the stories of the 19th century frontier.
Mr. Easterbrook's published works include Reflections of the Gunfighter (1982), The Time Traveler in Old Colorado (1985), and numerous cowboy poems and newspaper articles. An aficionado of all things Western American, when given the opportunity to appear in films he did. He can be seen in several scenes in The Long Riders (1980) and Tombstone (1993).
He scripted and starred in his one-act show "Legacy of the West" and toured it in Colorado and Arizona for many years, presenting it to schools and civic groups. Eventually he successfully toured the act in several European countries.
A lifelong student of William H. Bonney and the Lincoln County War, Mr. Easterbrook began his research on Billy the Kid while in his teens, and never stopped digging and investigating the life of the most maligned cowboy in the history of the Southwest. He passed away still young-at-heart, a devoted student and promoter of America's vanished West. The Narrative of William H. Bonney is his seminal work, his final iconic contribution to the lore of America's lost frontier.
Russell G. Nelson is a lifelong student of the American Frontier, his primary interest being the Rocky Mountain fur trade and the pre-settlement West. An early member of the American Mountainmen, he taught himself many frontier era skills including tanning leather, horse packing and horse shoeing. He has hunted and trapped from the upper Arkansas River to the Gunnison River..
His undergraduate studies were guided by James T. King, biographer of General Eugene Carr, and his cousin Ray Allen Billington and living history companion Don Rickey were longtime influences on his study of Western American history. He continued his graduate studies in history while residing in Oklahoma.
Mr. Nelson's editing skills were learned then honed while working on his college newspaper, and then on a small weekly. Of The Narrative of William H. Bonney he says, "I tightened it up as much as possible without changing content. And I stand by the colorful syntax for it reflects the way Bill used the language."
A graduate of Officers Candidate School, Fort Benning, Georgia, Mr. Nelson is a retired U.S. Army infantry officer (Regular Army). A life member of Disabled American Veterans and the National Rifle Association, he is also the author of the 20th century Western novel Pals.