Western History Books

Candy Moulton’s newest books are The Mormon Handcart Migration: ‘Tounge nor pen can never tell the sorrow,’ published by the University of Oklahoma Press, Forts, Fights & Frontier Sites: Wyoming’s Historic Places, published by High Plains Press, and Valentine T. McGillycuddy: Army Surgeon, Agent to the Sioux, published by the Arthur H. Clark Co.

Candy’s books reflect the history of the American West from overland trail travels, to homesteaders, including stories of American Indians, horses, ranching, and unique and historical places and events. 

The Mormon Handcart Migration: “Tounge nor pen can never tell the sorrow”

By Candy Moulton
Published by the University of Oklahoma Press
ISBN: ‎ 978-0806162614
Hardcover $29.95

Winner The Will Rogers Silver Medallion for Best Nonfiction Book
Spur Award Finalist for Best Nonfiction Book

In 1856 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints employed a new means of getting converts to Great Salt Lake City who could not afford the journey otherwise. They began using handcarts, thus initiating a five-year experiment that has become a legend in the annals of Mormon and North American migration. Only one in ten Mormon emigrants used handcarts, but of those 3,000 who did between 1856 and 1860, most survived the harrowing journey to settle Utah and become members of a remarkable pioneer generation. Others were not so lucky. More than 200 died along the way, victims of exhaustion, accident, and, for a few, starvation and exposure to late-season Wyoming blizzards. Now, Candy Moulton tells of their successes, travails, and tragedies in an epic retelling of a legendary story.


What others say about the book:

Award-winning author Candy Moulton speaks with great authority in presenting this impressively detailed examination of a unique chapter in the history of the Western trails. Among the amazing multitude of diaries, journals, letters and other primary sources she researched, Moulton includes examples from her own family’s history as well as her personal experiences reliving aspects of the trek dur­ing sesquicentennial reenactments. … Moulton’s Handcart Migration provides an incredibly rich, highly detailed examination of the immigrants’ ordeals.”

 — Dennis Hagen, The Denver Corral of Westerners Roundup



Valentine T. McGillycuddy – Army Surgeon, Agent to the Sioux

By Candy Moulton

Published by Arthur H. Clark Co., 2011
Volume 35 in Western Frontiersmen

ISBN: 978-0870-62389-9
$34.95 Hardcover

ISBN: 978-0806148410
$21.95 Paperback

Winner of the Caroline Bancroft Award from Denver Public Library for Best Western History Book

A doctor and Indian agent’s fascinating life on the Northern Plains

On a September day in 1877, hundreds of Sioux and soldiers at Camp Robinson crowded around a fatally injured Lakota leader. A young doctor forced his way through the crowd, only to see the victim fading before him. It was the famed Crazy Horse. From intense moments like this to encounters with such legendary western figures as Calamity Jane and Red Cloud, Valentine Trant O’Connell McGillycuddy’s life (1849–1939) encapsulated key events in American history that changed the lives of Native people forever.
In Valentine T. McGillycuddy: Army Surgeon, Agent to the Sioux, the first biography of the man in seventy years, award-winning author Candy Moulton explores McGillycuddy’s fascinating experiences on the northern plains as topographer, cartographer, physician, and Indian agent.

Drawing on family papers, interviews, government documents, and a host of other sources, Moulton presents a colorful character—a thin, blue-eyed, cultured physician who could outdrink trail-hardened soldiers. In fresh, vivid prose, she traces McGillycuddy’s work mapping out the U.S.-Canadian border; treating the wounded from the battles of the Rosebud, the Little Bighorn, and Slim Buttes; tending to Crazy Horse during his final hours; and serving as agent to the Sioux at Pine Ridge, where he clashed with Chief Red Cloud over the government’s assimilation policies. Along the way, Moulton weaves in the perspective of McGillycuddy’s devoted first wife, Fanny, who followed her husband west and wrote of the realities of camp life.

McGillycuddy’s doctoring of Crazy Horse marked only one point of his interaction with American Indians. But those relationships were also just one aspect of his life in the West, which extended well into the twentieth century. Enhanced by more than 20 photographs, this long-overdue biography offers general readers and historians an engaging adventure story as well as insight into a period of tumultuous change.

Chief Joseph: Guardian of the People (American Heroes Series)

By Candy Moulton
Published by Forge Books, 2006
240 pages
ISBN: 978-0765310644
Paperback $13.99

ISBN: 1-59607-579-1
Audio CD, Books in Motion, $19.99

2006 Spur Award Winner – Best Biography, Western Writers of America

Chief Joseph is one of the most recognized names in American Indian history, celebrated for his leadership and guardianship of the Nez Perce people during their 1500-mile flight in 1877 as they outmaneuvered and outraced the frontier army in an attempt to remain free. I had followed much of his trail and knew that he had become a hero not for his battle planning and prowess as a fighter, but for his diplomacy. As I researched and wrote his story, I also realized what an eloquent spokesman he was for his tribe and all Indian people and came to recognize that what he fought for in the 1870s is something we appreciate today, an unfailing love of freedom and homeland. (Chief Joseph: Guardian of the People, published by Forge Books in the American Heroes Series, ISBN 0-765-31063-5, hardcover $19.95; and ISBN 978-0-765-310644, trade paper $12.95; also available as an Audio CD from Books in Motion, $19.99, ISBN 1-59607-579-1).

What Others Say About the Book:

“CHIEF JOSEPH by Candy Moulton combines good history with deep emotion. It’s a book that will live in every reader’s mind.”

Thomas Fleming – author of DREAMS OF GLORY

“The story of Chief Joseph is reflective of the forbearance and determination of the Nez Perce people. Candy Moulton has crafted a moving account of a major player in an epic chapter of American Indian history.”

— Jerome A. Greene – author of NEZ PERCE SUMMER, 1877: THE U.S. ARMY AND THE NEE-ME-POO CRISIS

“Our written history goes from the 700-page history by Alvin Josephy to other shorter works but none is more comprehensive than CHIEF JOSEPH: GUARDIAN OF THE PEOPLE for American Heroes. I appreciate Candy Moulton including details about our stay in and return from Oklahoma Territory.”

— Charlie Moses, Jr. – Chief Joseph Band, Nez Perce Colville Reservation, Nespelem, Washington President, Nez Perce National Historical Trail Foundation

“Solid, well researched, beautifully balanced and written with smooth authority, CHIEF JOSEPH: GUARDIAN OF THE PEOPLE is an excellent recounting of a tale of high tragedy that defines the native-American heartbreak that is at the center of the American westering experience. Every page offers a nugget to a discerning reader.”

— David Nevin – author of MERIWETHER

“Moulton writes with exquisite passion about one of America’s greatest freedom fighters. Impeccably researched, CHIEF JOSEPH: GUARDIAN OF THE PEOPLE, will stand for generations as a testament to one man’s heroic struggle to find a sanctuary for his people.”

— W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear – Authors of PEOPLE OF THE RAVEN

Steamboat, Legendary Bucking Horse: His Life and Times, and the Cowboys Who Tried to Tame Him

By Candy Moulton and Flossie Moulton
Published by High Plains Press 

ISBN: 978-0878423163
Paperback – 192 pages

Candy and Flossie Moulton present the story behind this horse whose likeness is the symbol of Wyoming seen on the state’s license plates and as the University of Wyoming logo. The book traces the history of the bucking horse from his youth on the Two Bar outfit of the Swan Land and Cattle Company through his rise to the undisputed World Champion Bucking Horse.

Was Steamboat the horse who wouldn’t be rode? Which men climbed aboard the horse? Who is the cowboy atop the horse on the famous logo on the Wyoming license tag? How is Steamboat connected to Cheyenne Frontier Days, the notorious range detective Tom Horn, and the Irwin Brothers Wild West Show? You’ll find the answers here.

Legacy of the Tetons: Homesteading in Jackson Hole

By Candy Moulton
Published by Grandma’s Cabin

Paperback – 210 pages

Now available in a revised third edition, this is the history of the first individuals to claim homesteads in what is now Grand Teton National Park and includes an expanded version of the 1856 Willie Handcart migration. It is a story of hard work and sacrifice by people determined to make a better life for themselves and their descendants. It focuses on the Mormon Row area, home to some of the old barns now famous because of their use in country music videos and photographs. Country Magazine called one of the barns “The Most Photographed Barn in America.” For my family, it is simply Grandpa Moulton’s barn. This title was named the First Place History Book in 1994 by the Wyoming State Historical Society.

Today’s Jackson Hole is a magnet for tourists who come for a taste of the American West. However, before the cars and buses, homesteaders on horseback and in wagons saw the beauty of the land and built their homes within sight of the majestic Grand Tetons.

What Others Say About the Book:

“The tightly-drawn story line of this new edition of Legacy of the Tetons . . . lures you into the compelling world of the real Western frontier, where fur trappers, emigrants, and homesteaders fought for survival every day of their lives. This book is a priceless contribution to the study of Western history in general, and Wyoming history especially.”

— W. Michael and Kathleen O’Neal Gear – authors of People of the Moon

Forts, Fights & Frontier Sites: Wyoming Historic Locations

By Candy Moulton
Published by High Plains Press

ISBN: 978-0-931271-93-9
Limited edition hardcover signed & numbered

ISBN: 978-0-931271-92-2
Trade paper, bibliography, index – 238 pages

From Almond Station to Yellowstone National Park, Candy Moulton gives precise, compact histories of Wyoming frontier sites—many that have crumbled into the landscape and nearly faded from memory plus a few that have thrived. Moulton has a gift for cutting through the clutter and getting to the heart of history.

What others say about the book:

“Here, at last, is a book that explores some of the lesser known historical sites in Wyoming. In her hallmark engaging style, Candy Moulton documents scores of Wyoming way stations, military establishments, battlefields, Pony Express stations, Oregon and Overland Trail sites, military expeditions—even ferries and “hog ranches.” Whether you’re a serious student of Wyoming history or just a casual reader, you must have this book on your shelf. This is history that needs to be preserved, and Moulton has faced the task head-on with outstanding results.”

— James A. Crutchfield, Former Executive Director, Western Writers of America

“Candy Moulton has compiled the definitive guide to frontier sites across Wyoming. The volume will be useful to those who read about Wyoming from their armchairs but essential to all of us who travel Wyoming and need quick information. In keeping with her earlier works on Wyoming, it demonstrates careful research and a discerning eye for what made the sites significant.”

— Phil Roberts, Ph.D., Wyoming historian and author of The Wyoming Almanac

© High Plains Press

The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West from 1840-1900

By Candy Moulton

Published by Writer’s Digest Books (May 1, 2002)

ISBN: 978-1582972114
Paperback – 340 pages

Writers of romance, historical fiction, nonfiction and westerns will find it easier to get the details correct about life in the West during the period 1840-1900 with a copy of this book, published by Writer’s Digest Books and now available from Lightning Source.

You’ll learn about the terrain, vegetation, wildlife, weather, and natural disasters of the period. The development of Western states, including descriptions of Native American societies and how the settlement of the West affected them. There is information about western battles from the Mormon War to the struggles with Mexico and Native Americans–including what it was like to be a soldier. You will also discover the qualities of everyday lives in the West, including the clothing, food, drink, homes and workplaces, and such aspects of Wild West society as marriage, family, birth, death, and medical care. I’ve included timelines, photographs, maps and reprints of newspaper articles from the period to help you get your facts straight and bring your historical stories to life.

Everyday Life Among the American Indians 1800 to 1900

By Candy Moulton
Published by Writer’s Digest Books (April 1, 2001)

Paperback: 273 pages
ISBN: 978-1582974712
Paperback – 273 pages

This is a companion volume to Everyday Life in the Wild West and concentrates solely on American Indians, providing details about food, clothing, and tribal society.

A perfect guide for writers, students, and historians! Everyday Life Among the American Indians corrects decades of misinformation with insightful, accurate scholarship that belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in reading – or writing – the real story. Covering more than 500 tribes and including maps, illustrations, chronologies, and detailed overviews of day-to-day life, this invaluable reference for writers, researchers and students is at once comprehensive and strikingly accessible. From the Louisiana Purchase to the Trail of Tears to Wounded Knee and beyond, the author vividly portrays the disappearing cultures of nineteenth-century American Indians with dignity and in astonishing detail, including information on: tribal leadership, weaponry and warfare, food and shelter, tools and medicine, languages, customs, religions, and crime and punishment.

Roadside History of Wyoming

By Candy Moulton
Published by Mountain Press Publishing Company (September 1, 1995)

ISBN: 978-0878423163
Paperback – 440 pages

Gives readers a sampling of the history, people, places, and events that shaped my home state of Wyoming. As I said in the introduction to the book, “High atop America is a place so rugged and wild it grabs your heart and spirit and soul: Wyoming, land of the cowboy. The state is a sensation of endless space and unchanged time. Standing atop a granite boulder in the Rocky Mountains, you may feel that you’re looking into forever or seeing a country un-trammeled and untamed.

Wyoming has lots of elbow room and not much to obstruct the view. Its immensity is matched only by its diversity: Rock-strewn mountains, rolling plains, windswept deserts and pastoral valleys. In every region of the state you can climb to the top of a high peak, spin your gaze like a top, and see nothing but land, rocks and sagebrush–just as it might have looked when the first people came to this country.

In Wyoming your spirit can soar with the eagles and race with the wild horses of the Pryor Mountains or the Red Desert.” This book won first place nonfiction history book awards from both Wyoming Media Professionals and the National Federation of Press Women in 1996.

Roadside History of Colorado (Roadside History Series)

By Candy Moulton

Paperback: 277 pages
Published by Mountain Press Publishing Company (May 1, 2006)

ISBN: 978-0878425204
Paperback – 277 pages

Colorado’s roads wind through country that is steeped in history, sometimes tracing routes with a history of their own, from the Santa Fe Trail to the Million Dollar Highway. But no matter where you roam in this beautiful state, Roadside History of Colorado can guide you. In this long-awaited volume, award-winning history writer Candy Moulton escorts readers through ancient pueblos, perilous trails, mining boomtowns, and modern ski resorts. Like the other books in this popular series. Roadside History of Colorado is divided into geographical-historical areas, making it easy to explore the state region by region. Mesmerizing tales of adventure and tragedy including cannibalism on the Starvation Trail, the infamous Sand Creek Massacre, the jailing of Mother Jones, and the Big Thompson River flood of 1976 will thrill both Coloradans and visitors. Numerous historical photographs and maps enhance this entertaining and handy guide to the history of the Centennial State.

Roadside History of Nebraska (Roadside History Series, Vol 13)

By Candy Moulton

Published by Mountain Press Publishing Company (October 1, 1997)

Hardcover: 416 pages
ISBN: 0-87842-347-8 ($18 paper)
ISBN: 0-87842-348-6 ($30 cloth)

This road guide to Nebraska has historical stories ranging from the earliest native inhabitants of the region to the development of Omaha and even Husker football.

Arranged in five sections: Lewis and Clark Country, River Country, Oregon Trail Country, Sandhills Country, and Panhandle Country, the book has tales of sod home settlers, rustlers, train robbers, farmers and industrialists.

The Grand Encampment: Settling the High Country

By Candy Moulton

Published by High Plains Press (June 1, 1997)

ISBN: 978-0931271441
Paperback – 240 pages

Award-winning author and historian Candy Moulton compiled a definitive settlement history of Wyoming’s Grand Encampment, with never-before-published panoramic photographs.

Here is the story of the copper mining era when rich minerals were found daily and men made or lost fortunes overnight. Some made money and left with it, some stayed too long, and some had the fortitude to survive to watch their grandchildren grow up in the community. But the story is more than the mining days. Early explorers, cattlemen, tie hacks, the sixteen-mile tramway, the booms and busts, plus a look at the present and the future it’s all here.

Wagon Wheels: A Contemporary Journey on the Oregon Trail

By Candy Moulton and Ben Kern

Published by High Plains Press, 1996

ISBN: 978-0931271366
Paperback – 256 pages

Co-written with Ben Kern, this is our story of traveling the Oregon Trail with a wagon train in 1993. It won first place in the Wyoming Media Professionals communications contest in 1997, received honorable mention from the National Federation of Press Women in 1997, and won a nonfiction book award from the Wyoming State Historical Society in 1997.

Hot Biscuits: Eighteen Stories by Women and Men of the Ranching West

By Candy Moulton and Max Evans

Published by University of New Mexico Press, 2002

ISBN: 978-0826328892
Hardcover – 256 pages

This collection of 18 short stories are fiction but based upon the lives of the authors, men and women who have lived and worked on ranches. These cowboys and ranch women write of their connection to the land and the livestock. Their stories come from the heart and are filled with the gut-wrenching realities of making a living from the back of a horse. As one of the authors put it, the unique nature of the book is that the stories are written about “not only the powerful subject of the land and lifestyle, but from people who have actually lived it.”

The stories in this anthology range as wide as the Rockies, from a murder mystery to the tale of a unique horse trainer, to a family’s desperate battle against a grass and forest fire to the story of a world famous violinist. But they share a common denominator: biscuits. Almost every story includes hot biscuits as a feature of daily life in the Working West. Biscuits, it turns out, are more important in western life than guns and maybe more than coffee. In the West, people who could make superior biscuits received more respect than the mayor and the police chief combined.

Images of America: The Grand Encampment

By Candy Moulton and Terry A. Del Bene
Published by Arcadia Publishing, 2012

ISBN: 978-1531659714
Paperback $21.99

For centuries, people have come to the Grand Encampment valley to fish, hunt, and enjoy the cool mountain weather. Fur trappers and traders gave the region its name, calling it Camp le Grande. During the 1897 copper mining boom, Camp le Grande became Grand Encampment when a townsite company gave birth to the Grand Encampment Copper District. Mining brought a flood of people to the area and spawned the town of Grand Encampment. The mining boom was an economic bonanza for the region during a 10-year period from 1897 to 1908. The miners were not alone as ranchers had already patented homesteads and were raising cattle and crops prior to the discovery of copper.

The Settlement of America: Encyclopedia of Westward Expansion from Jamestown to the Closing of the Frontier

Edited by: James Crutchfield, Candy Moulton, Terry Del Bene

Two-volume set; topic finder; essays; photos; maps; primary documents; chronology; bibliography; index

This authoritative illustrated encyclopedia presents a complete history of America’s frontier movement, from the first permanent English settlement in Jamestown in 1607, expeditions across the Appalachian Mountains, the opening of the Northwest Territory, exploration of the Mississippi River, homesteading on the Great Plains, gold and silver mining in the West, and the Indian Wars to the settlement of the Pacific Coast and the official closing of the American frontier in 1890. Nearly 500 in-depth signed articles cover personalities and peoples, places, events, institutions, movements, and many other topics on the expanding frontier.

The Settlement of America enables students to consider multiple viewpoints (Native Americans, explorers, fur traders, settlers, immigrants, women, politicians, and businessmen); appreciate diverse historical perspectives; understand historical continuity and change, and recognize how the movement westward forever changed the national character.