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A couple of days ago, I participated in a radio interview with Grady Kirkpatrick of Wyoming Public Radio discussing the Big Nose George story.

Listen in NOW to hear the replay of my interview on Grady's Postcast, Open Spaces. Grady had some great questions, digging into the nitty gritty of the history. I enjoyed the interaction, and I hope you will too if you get a chance to listen in to it.

This month has been the culmination of a marathon of book signings, conferences, and other promotions for Big Nose George: His Troublesome Trail. I have done over a dozen or so get- togethers to discuss or endorse Big Nose George from visiting with a growing diversity of audiences in Wyoming, Montana to South Dakota and more. The book continues to sell well and enjoys wide distribution throughout the region. I am thrilled about this and thank you all for your continued support!

Dr. John Osborne is one of the most enigmatic characters in the sordid story of the outlaw Big Nose George Parott. He only arrived in Rawlins as a new physician from Vermont just a month before Parott’s scheduled execution, where he planned to partner with Dr. Thomas Maghee in his medical office.

Dr. John E. Osborne image from Wikipedia

In the years following the death of Big Nose George, Osborne enjoyed a successful career in medicine,

and went on to become a Wyoming Governor, member of the U. S. House of Representatives, and President Woodrow Wilson’s Assistant Secretary of State. But it his behavior during those months in and around March 1881 in Rawlins that taint the otherwise stellar career of the good doctor.

Osborne had taken possession of Parott’s body after the lynching on March 22 and

moved it into the medical office. Osborne proceeded to make a death mask of the outlaw before he and Maghee studied the criminal’s brain, assisted by Lillian Heath, a young female volunteer.

Then, Osborne had the corpse skinned so he could have shoes, and other items, made from the hide. Once Osborne finished with the dissections, he unceremoniously buried the body in a whiskey barrel behind the medical office, after he had given Heath the skull cap as a memento.

Those gruesome weeks in the spring of 1881 are a dark asterisk to the otherwise successful career of one of Rawlins’ early physicians. We may never know what compelled him

to do what he did. But enough time has passed for aspiring historians to ask the question with their own research.

Currently, I am working with Sandra Jonas Publishing in Boulder, Colorado to produce my memoir about growing up on the I Lazy D. My memoir, called: “A Sometimes Paradise: Reflections on Life in a Wyoming Ranch Family.” I hope it captures the intimate relationship between people and place that develops in the rural West, and elsewhere for that matter. The lessons about life I learned in the country helped make me into the person I have become to date.

My brother, Rod and I were fourth generation ranchers in Wyoming. The times we spent horseback riding behind a herd of cattle are among my fondest memories of my youth. Unfortunately, he and I left the ranch with our parents shortly after our own children were born. Our kids never got a chance to grow up as western as Rod and I did.

That is partly why I chose to write about the early west, so that people can get a taste about what happened behind that hazy veneer of legend that evolved through the decades. If you are like me, you will soon realize that the facts are much more interesting than the fiction when it comes to the American West. I hope that you've enjoyed the story of Big Nose George and the characters in his orbit as you would my memoir.

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