A Brief History
On November 25, 1876, the US Army took revenge for the Little Bighorn massacre of George Custer and his 7th Cavalry, by sacking a peaceful Cheyenne village led by Chief Dull Knife, a translation of his Lakota Sioux name. A correct translation of his actual Cheyenne name is the more flattering “Morning Star.”
Here are some other Old West names and nicknames (of real people) that are not so complimentary:
Big Nose Kate, the girlfriend of gunslinger Doc Holliday.
Calamity Jane, an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok.
Captain Jack, a Modoc Chief whose name is actually Strikes the Water Brashly.
Chief Spotted Tail, so that you did not confuse him with Chief Unspotted Tail.
Man Afraid of His Horse, which is a mistranslation, but the name stuck.
Pistol Pete, actually Frank Eaton, a gunslinger and lawman.
Soapy Smith, named after one of his scams.
Wilma Mankiller, a modern Cherokee Chief not to be messed with.
Question for students (and subscribers): What is your favorite Wild West name? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Johnston, Charles. Famous Indian Chiefs : Their Battles, Treaties, Sieges, and Struggles with the Whites for the Possession of America. Kindle, 2014.
Parslow, Mitch. Outlaws and Legends of the Wild West: 5 True Tales of Gunslingers, Desperados and Lawmen (Books 1-3). Mitch Parslow, 2014.
The featured image in this article, a map of the En:Indian Wars in the Western United States showing the general location of tribes and the location of some army posts and battles, is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the United States Army Center of Military History.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.