Paperback: 305 pages

Publisher: Eye Books; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 May 2011)

ISBN-13: 978-1903070659

Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm

Riding the Outlaw Trail

Simon Casson

£7.99

“An adventure that suggests there’s still plenty of “wild”

left in the West. It’s exciting, uncomfortable and unpredictable.”

Wanderlust

Inspired by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Simon Casson and Richard Adamson (RIP) follow on horseback the trail of their boyhood heroes. They ride 2,000 miles through America s toughest and most treacherous terrain, crossing deserts, mountains, canyons and the high-plains of the Old West. They have to endure harsh conditions and cope with natural hazards and in so doing bring the exciting and violent lives of the Wild Bunch vividly to life. This dramatic, inspiring adventure provides an insight into America s past and present.

Extracts

Barbara seemed to know her stuff, and I certainly knew mine, but neither of us was checked out on mountain and desert survival. Barbara suggested we invite Richard Adamson to join us. Richard was described as ex-Royal Marine Commando with impeccable credentials, presently in East Africa. Despite being nervous about someone else coming on board, it sounded logical. Besides, the three of us would neatly replicate the movie trio: the new Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid and Etta Place. I record it a bit red-faced, but that unbelievably soppy reasoning was probably the clincher. I agreed.

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Extracts

Barbara seemed to know her stuff, and I certainly knew mine, but neither of us was checked out on mountain and desert survival. Barbara suggested we invite Richard Adamson to join us. Richard was described as ex-Royal Marine Commando with impeccable credentials, presently in East Africa. Despite being nervous about someone else coming on board, it sounded logical. Besides, the three of us would neatly replicate the movie trio: the new Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid and Etta Place. I record it a bit red-faced, but that unbelievably soppy reasoning was probably the clincher. I agreed.

2. We deliberated. Ride towards the ominous Labyrinth Canyon to locate water there? Beyond lay Hell Roaring Canyon and Deadman Point. Somebody had named those unfriendly-sounding places for good reasons. We were out of water and in trouble.

Without decent maps we were riding blind.

[…]

I knew we were floundering but I tried not to get edgy. Meanwhile Richard was working on re-connecting with his usually reliable sixth sense. Over a sandy wash we found a tiny rock-pool of water. Only Sunday would step into the depression to drink. The other horses required the canvas bucket even though they fought to quench their thirst.

Again, hospitality was lavished on the new Butch and Sundance – more beers, the invitation to stay and later, thick juicy steaks with all the usual trimmings. A delightful evening melted away in a haze of mild drunkenness and gluttony. This time around, the richest rewards of riding the outlaw trail were perfectly legal, perhaps even compulsory.

We slept like babies and awoke late. The tantalising smells of sizzling bacon and percolated coffee heralded a serious breakfast before gathering up the horses. Good weather had retuned and by nine we were already riding the fifteen miles to the Rafter Y Ranch. Earlier, I had often complained we had no solid routine, but we were making up for it now, and running like Swiss Railways

quotes

“A great journey in the footsteps of truly extraordinary adventurers.”

Bear Grylls

“Absolutely gripping.”

Daily Mail

“A bumptious and entertaining adventure story.”

Time Magazine

reviews

I am not generally a fan of accounts of horseback adventures, or indeed histories of Wild West outlaws, but this book was recommended by a friend who I know also likes the human side of a story. It did not disappoint!

There are three separate strands. The co-authors tell their side of the story: Simon is an adventurer with a romantic but faithful sense of history; Richard is an ex-army officer with an eye for detail and a low tolerance of muppetry. And then there are the accounts of the original outlaws, in whose hoofprints our authors are following. I could see that many readers might pick a favourite strand and be tempted to skip the others, but the book is very well edited and holds together in such a way as to make you want to keep turning the pages.

(Amazon 5* review)

I confess to having a particular personal interest in this book, having ridden parts of the trail myself over the years and having been fascinated by the subject ever since I was youngster. Add to that the fact that I managed to meet up with Simon and Richard as they passed through the beautiful Hole-in-the-Wall country back in 1997.I found this to be well-written, with just the right mix of the history of the topic and the ride itself. Simon writes with self-deprecating wit about the challenges as the group of three that became two tries to gel as a team, and with honesty about the challenges of an undertaking as wearing as this was on people and horses.The book made me reflect on the sheer skill of nineteenth century horsemen in covering the vast distances in the west, and without the resources available to the modern. Add to that the fact that the outlaws were usually running from someone or to somewhere and my admiration for their tenacity grows. But this is also a story of the modern west, of people who still take time out to help those in need, and whose families are rooted in the land as far back as the outlaws whom the team sought to emulate.This is as close as you can get to riding the outlaw trail without having to leave the comfort of your chair - I am just thankful that Simon, Richard and Barbara did it for us. Highly recommended.

(Amazon 5* review)

A fabulous read about sheer determination and grit - not unlike the Outlaws they were following. The essence of the country, its special people and the testing terrain made you feel you were living the experience with them. Loved the petty bickering between the travellers.....realistic and accurate depiction of human nature stretched to the limit.

(5* Amazon review)

extras

ABOUT

Simon Casson

Western historian and troubleshooter Simon Casson, billed locally as ‘the Sussex Indiana Jones’, organises and accomplishes adventurous expeditions. Possibly no-one since the original bandit riders themselves has ridden and explored the outlaw trails and hideouts of America’s Old Wild West as extensively as he has. He is now a founding partner in a unique travel business based on his specialisation.

Read more about Simon's business at www.outlawtrails.com.

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