Nat ‘Deadwood Dick’ Love was a Wild Cowboy and his adventures on the open range where so great that his identity was co-opted by nickel novel publishers for a western serial character.
A big surprise to no one at all, their character shared Deadwood Dick’s name and exploits but not his melanin.
Bear in mind that many who read these novels took the stories therein as fact. Whereas Nat’s real life antics went viral by word of mouth; the literary re-purposing of his lore was also insanely popular and is subsequently largely responsible for the general image of a cowboy in the collective social consciousness. He rescued and roped cattle, fought cattle rustlers, warred with ‘hostile’ Indians and was nursed to health and adopted by ‘benevolent’ Indians, nearly married a Mexican girl, and survived being shot 16 times.
Nat Love was a cattle herdsman and expert brand reader for an eastern cattle breeder. Its not unlikely that things like him roping a locomotive or storming a saloon on horseback and ordering drinks for him and his horse traveled the wire back east. What’s even less unlikely is that Nat’s conspicuous absence from mainstream literary and cinematic treatments is just by chance. They won’t even whitewash him – that’s gotta be by plan.
A plan that old west historians and intellectuals seem to support when they slick throw doubt on the veracity of his autobiography. These same scholars believe the OK Corral story primarily because Wyatt Earp corroborated viral hearsay about himself, Bat Masterson, and Doc Holiday. No need to wonder why they don’t hold the same trust in Nat’s own words?
They dog whistle ‘big fish’ but its really ‘soar grapes’ for them. Above I said ‘They won’t even whitewash him’, I misspoke, They can’t whitewash him, not without controversy. The bottom line is the bottom line and controversy affects the bottom line. So since they can’t exploit him no more, something gotta be wrong with him and his tale. Wrong, and since they ain’t telling his story maybe one of us should?
Might even be a good opportunity for Offset to flex some acting skills. What Deadwood story would you tell or like to see? Who would you cast?