The Bad Old Days of Colorado – Untold Stories of the Wild West. Finalist Colorado Book Awards 2021.

FEATURED ON C-SPAN September 19, 2020


The Bad Old Days of Colorado celebrates the Centennial State’s glorious and rowdy past. Many people born and bred here relish just how “bad” things used to be: the terrain, the inhabitants, and especially the quality of whiskey. While fearless lawmen, industrious entrepreneurs, and resilient miners and ranchers were the backbone of society, its underbelly teemed with gambling “hells”, seedy brothels, and shady characters who rarely did an honest day’s work. Read about some of Colorado’s most scandalous episodes and nefarious ne’r-do-wells, such as:

  • Nathan Cook Meeker, a nonconformist idealist whose attempt to create a utopian temperance colony resulted in not only disappointment but several fatalities, and whose ignorance of the Ute culture led to the murder of several white settlers and of Meeker himself;
  • Ada LaMont, a nineteen-year-old minister’s wife from Missouri who holds the dubious distinction of being the first non-Indian woman to open up a brothel in Denver;
  • Horace Tabor, who serendipitously made a fortune out of an apparently worthless mine that had been “salted” with silver-rich ore; then, after an expensive (and illegal) divorce, created a scandal by marrying a woman one-third his age who died alone, widowed and penniless; and
  • Brown’s Hole, Colorado’s own outlaw hideout, where Butch Cassidy and his gang found refuge among sympathetic locals between “jobs” and where the neighbors themselves often didn’t have much use for the tedious legal processes involved in appropriating both cattle and land.