Seeking Pleasure in the Old West

David Dary


“The men on Lewis and Clark’s 1804 expedition square-danced to fiddle music. Cowboys’ leisure pursuits included singing, storytelling, dominoes, reading, and foot races. U.S. Army soldiers played the newfangled game of baseball and even enjoyed debating and attending concerts. Dary’s irresistible narrative recreates card games on Mississippi steamboats, New Orleans balls, frontier campfires and cafe-theatres, Santa Fe saloons, and Wyoming bicycle clubs and mineral spas, and it charts the emergence of a middle class that came to disapprove of prostitution, gambling, drinking, bear-baiting, and buffalo-hunting. An engaging chronicle.”

Publishers Weekly

“This lively and good-humored narrative takes the reader on a journey to a time before pleasure ruled lives, a time when fun was where you found it and was what you did when you had time.”

Dallas Morning News
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About the Author

David Dary, director of the H. H. Herbert School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma, is the author of six previous books on the West, including the classic Cowboy Culture, which won the Cowboy Hall of Fame Wrangler Award, the Western Writers of America's Spur Award, and the Westerners International best nonfiction book award.