ABOUT BILL MARKLEY

A long-time member of Western Writers of America, Bill Markley's latest book, Geronimo and Sitting Bull: Leaders of the Legendary West (May 2021) is the third in the Legendary West series and chronicles the lives of these two great Native American leaders. Billy the Kid and Jesse James: Outlaws of the Legendary West (October 2019) is the second in the series. Which outlaw was the best at what he did, Jesse James or Billy the Kid? The first in the series, Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson: Lawmen of the Legendary West (May 2019) compares the lives of these two great lawmen of the Old West. Which lawman did the most to tame the frontier? This joint biography reveals the intersection of their legacies and attempts to answer the questions about their place in the story of the West. Both Billy the Kid and Jesse James and Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were finalists in the nonfiction category for the 2020 Will Rogers Medallion Award. The fourth in the series, Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody: Plainsmen of the Legendary West will be released in 2022.

 

Old West Showdown: Two Authors Wrangle over the Truth about the Mythic Old West (October 2018) was selected as a 2019 Will Rogers Medallion Award finalist in nonfiction. In this book, Bill and coauthor Kellen Cutsforth explore ten old west controversial events and characters fully realizing they will be stirring up multiple hornets' nests. Kellen takes one side of each story and Bill takes the other side—point/counterpoint. In the sequel, Standoff at High Noon: Another Battle over the Truth in the Mythic Wild West (October 2021), Kellen and Bill investigate ten more controversial Old West stories.

 

Bill's book, Deadwood Dead Men (September 2013) is a historical novel of Deadwood, Dakota Territory, in August 1876 during the time of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and other notorious characters. Western Fictioneers selected Deadwood Dead Men as a finalist for its 2014 Peacemaker Award in the category Best First Western Novel.

 

Bill has written three additional books, Dakota Epic, Experiences of a Reenactor during the filming of Dances with Wolves, Up the Missouri River with Lewis and Clark and American Pilgrim, A Post September 11 Bus Trip and Other Tales of the Road. He has written for South Dakota, Roundup, True West, and Wild West magazines. His story "Kenneth McKenzie, King of the Upper Missouri" appeared in WWA's 2010 anthology, Roundup! Bill also wrote “Theodore Roosevelt and the River Pirates” for WWA’s 2021 youth anthology, Why Cows Need Cowboys. He also contributed to Encyclopedia of Western Expansion (2011) writing a chapter on “Military Establishment” and thirty entries.

 

History, especially American history, and travel have fascinated Bill since he was a boy growing up on the family farm in Pennsylvania. Moving to Pierre, South Dakota in 1976, to work for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources was a natural fit for Bill, where he immersed himself in local history and participated in Civil War and Western frontier reenacting. He has been in films such as Dances with Wolves, Son of the Morning Star, Far and Away, Gettysburg, and Crazy Horse. He worked in Antarctica, traveled the South Pacific, kayaked and backpacked in Alaska, chaperoned a Boy Scout troop to Japan, and has camped, hiked, and rode horseback through the West. Bill and his wife Liz, live in Pierre where they raised two children.