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Other Characters - Index

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The PioneerThere were literally hundreds of colorful characters on the Frontier that weren't outlaws, lawmen, trailblazers, gunfighters, or other easily categorized figures; but, were still extremely interesting people that deserve to be mentioned.


Here, you'll find eccentrics, businessmen, poker players, ministers, entertainers, doctors, photographers, historians, writers, and more.


Though these many people may not have become icons of the American West, so often referred to, in everything from history books to "dime novels," each and everyone of them had some interesting tale to tell.


From such colorful names as Poker Alice, to Potato Creek Johnny, Rawhide Jimmy, Levi Strauss, and others. Watch while this Old West List of Colorful Characters grows.



Index of Other Frontier Characters:



  • Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872) - Creator of a single wire telegraph system, co-inventor of the Morse Code, and painter of portraits and historic scenes.

  • Lawrence Murphy (1831 or 1834-1878) - An Irishman who immigrated to the United States, Murphy was a Civil War Veteran, cattleman, and businessman, whose greed ultimately spawned New Mexico's Lincoln County War.

  • John Perrett, aka: Potato Creek Johnny - One of Deadwood's most colorful characters, John Perrett, more often referred to as "Potao Creek Johnny,” is credited with finding one of the world’s largest gold nuggets. Though he never made his fortune, he did become a local attraction, in and of himself, up until the day he died at the age of 77 in February, 1943.

  • Bucking BroncoFrederic Sackrider Remington (1861-1909) - An American painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer who specialized in depictions of the Old American West, specifically concentrating on the last quarter of the 19th century and images of cowboys, American Indians, and the U. S. Cavalry.

  • William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers (1879-1935) - Cherokee-American c, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer, Presidential candidate and actor.

  • Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926) - One of the great artists of the American West, Russell created more than 2,000 paintings of cowboys, Indians, and landscapes set in the Western United States, as well as bronze sculptures.

  • Charles M. Schwab (1862-1939)- Making his fortune in the steel industry, Schwab invested heavily in Death Valley mining ventures. After living a lavish lifestyle for years and the stock market crash of 1929, he died in poverty.

  • Erwin E. Smith (1886-1947) - Often referred to as "one of the greatest photographers of cowboy life,” Smith created engaging and action-filled images of cowboys and ranch life that have come to symbolize the universal western cowboy type.

  • Joseph Smith (1805-1844) - Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more well known as the Mormons. He was one of the most charismatic and influential religious figures in American history.

  • Levi Strauss (1829-1902) - The inventor of Levi Blue Jeans, Strauss first sold them to California gold miners.

  • Granville Stuart (1834-1918) – Frontiersman, miner, Montana Land Baron, leader of the vigilante group called Stuart's Stranglers, author and more, Granville Stuart is recognized as a Montana pioneer and hero.

  • John Sutter (1803-1880) - The owner of the property where gold was first discovered in California, his land was taken over by prospectors. He ended up experiencing economic setback and went bankrupt.

  • Alice Ivers Tubbs; aka: Poker Alice (1851-1930) – Perhaps the best known female poker player in all of the Wild Old West, Alice Ivers Tubbs moved from mining camp to mining camp building her reputation as a superb gambler. After rambling through the West for years, she finally settled down in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where she died in Rapid City in 1930.

  • John Henry Tunstall (1853-1878) - An English cattleman in Lincoln County, New Mexico, Tunstall, along with partner, Alexander McSween, opened a rival store in Lincoln, vying for the business that had been controlled by the Murphy & Dolan Mercantile and Banking. Tunstall's rivals murdered him in February, 1878, igniting the Lincoln County War.

  • Frederick J. Turner (1861-1932) - Historian of the American West.

  • Mark Twain - See Samuel Clemens

  • Dr. Marcus WhitmanDr. Marcus Whitman (1802-1847) - Among the first American settlers in the West, Dr. Whitman and his wife, Narcissa, played an important role in opening the Oregon Trail, establishing the Whitman Mission in 1836. They were killed in what is known as the Whitman Massacre.

  • Narcissa Prentiss Whitman (1808-1847) - A missionary in the Oregon Country of what would become the state of Washington, she, along with Eliza Hart Spalding, was the first European-American woman to cross the Rocky Mountains in 1836.  Along with her husband, Dr. Marcus Whitman, they established the Whitman Mission near modern day Walla Walla, Washington.


  • Brigham Young (1801-1877) - Leader of the Mormon movement to Utah, president of the church from 1847 to 1877, and the first governor of Utah. Young's legacy is varied, with praise for his many accomplishments and historical influence, as well as controversy, for a number of 19th century events, including the Mountain Meadows Massacre.



Compiled by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated May, 2017.

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