Western Dime Novels

A Dime Western is a modern term for Western-themed dime novels, which spanned the era of the 1860sā€”1900s.

The West Lives On

Most would hardly be recognizable as a modern western, having more in common with James Fennimore Cooper‘s Leatherstocking saga, but many of the standard elements originated here: a cool detached hero, a frontiersman (later a cowboy), a fragile heroine in danger of the despicable outlaw, savage Indians, violence and gunplay, and the final outcome where Truth and Light wins over all.

An Adventure of Kit Carson

It was printed in Holden’s Dollar Magazine. Other stories were also printed such as Kit Carson: The Prince of the Goldhunters and The Prairie Flower. Writers thought Carson the perfect mountain man and Indian fighter. His exciting adventures were printed in the story, Kiowa Charley, The White Mustanger; or, Rocky Mountain Kit’s Last Scalp Hunt. In this story, an older Kit is said to have “had ridden into Sioux camps unattended and alone, had ridden out again, but with the scalps of their greatest warriors at his belt.ā€

Buffalo Bill the King of the Border Men

Traveling with William Cody, author Ned Buntline became enamored with the gregarious man and would claim that he devised the nickname “Buffalo Bill” for the hero of his serial novel Buffalo Bill, the King of the Border Men, published in the New York Weekly beginning 23 December 1869. Originally Buntline was going to cast Cody as a sidekick to “Wild Bill” Hickok, but found his character more interesting than Hickok’s. Buntline presented Cody as a “compendium of cliches.ā€ However this did not stop New York Playwright Frank Meader from using Buntline’s novel as the basis of a play about Cody’s life in 1872.

Davy Crockett

A 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician. Davy Crockett, also known as the “King of the Wild Frontier” and depicted wearing a coonskin cap, was popularized for his efforts in the Texas Revolution. He died during the Battle of the Alamo.