Welcome to Oldwest.org, where we’re on a simple but important mission to ensure the stories, legends and folklore of the American West are shared and preserved for future generations.
We’re passionate writers and storytellers interested in sharing all sides of the frontier: the good, the bad and the ugly. The tapestry of the West was woven with more than just outlaws and sheriffs, and we’re here to plumb the depths of frontier history to find hidden gems that would otherwise be lost to time.
Growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, OldWest.org founder D.T. Christensen developed a deep love for the West’s rugged landscapes, indigenous histories, and the stories of cultures clashing on the frontier. He spent years in Arizona learning about the state and territory’s often bloody past, visiting sites like Skeleton Cave and Reavis Ranch, an old homestead in the Superstition Mountains.
When he wasn’t exploring, he read classic Western works: tales of lost treasure by J. Frank Dobie, short stories from Louis L’Amour, terrifying novels from Cormac McCarthy, and captivating stories of Arizona and New Mexico from Eve Ball. Today, he still combs through his growing library of vintage Old West magazines, books and journal articles for stories to uncover and share online.
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We believe that by understanding American West history, we can better appreciate our present — and shape the future.
We’re committed to historical accuracy and fairness, in particular with regard to perspectives from people and cultures that have been historically ignored or misrepresented in Old West history. The fact that a quarter of cowboys may have been black, for example, is hardly noted in the movies and books we’ve all grown up with. Needless to say, we’re glad to see Nat Love and Co. get their own movie.
We strive for accuracy, though we’re also aware of the limitations and biases of many historical accounts, and acknowledge that in some cases there’s no clear answers for many of the West’s most famous — and infamous — narratives. In these cases we do our best to present different views to allow the reader to make his or her own judgments.
Whether you’re an armchair historian, or someone who simply appreciates the beauty and history of the West, we’d love to have you join our community of fellow Western enthusiasts. You can sign up for our newsletter here, or follow us on Facebook.
Finally, if you’d like to share stories, sources, research or questions, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us here.
Thanks for joining our journey to share the Old West and its many stories, some of which are still yet to be told!
Shelby Carr is an American history PhD student at Temple University. She graduated from the University of Colorado with her Master of Arts in American history with a minor in public history, and a certificate in historic preservation with high distinction. She also received her Bachelor of Arts in history, magna cum laude, from the same institution. She earned a certificate in genealogical research from Boston University, and a certificate in antiques, collectibles, and appraising from Asheford Institute of Antiques. She is the author of The Queen of Denver: Louise Sneed Hill and the Emergence of Modern High Society.
D.T. Christensen is the founder of OldWest.org, a history website committed to sharing and preserving stories of the American West. He was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, studied journalism at Northern Arizona University, and also writes for Territory Supply and True Crime Time. He enjoys reading Western history books and learning about the cultures behind the ruins scattered around Arizona and the Southwest.
Although Karen lives in the Midwest, she likes to put the emphasis on the “west.” A freelance writer who specializes in American history, Karen has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in English from Indiana University.
Molly Jacobson is a freelance journalist based near Miles City, Montana, where she wrangles five babies, twenty chickens, and one emotionally unstable dog. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Gonzaga University and writes for mental health blogs, history websites, two local newspapers, and anyone else who doesn’t mind her flagrant abuse of the maximum allowed word count.
Will Krakower is a freelance writer from the New York area. He has a master’s degree in Public History from Rutgers University and specializes in Early American History. He works as a historian for the New Jersey State Park Service and likes to research and write with his cat, Pumpkin, who sits on his lap and is a constant companion/nuisance.
Chris McFadin is currently completing his MBA at Boston University, as well as his ChFC certificate from the American College. He holds a PhD in economic history from the University of Iowa and works for a financial services company in Madison, WI. His ghostwritten work has appeared in CNBC, Fox News, USA Today, Thrilist, MarketWatch, Mental Floss and Vox.
Patrick Michael McGuire is a writer, songwriter, and interviewer based in northern New Mexico. His articles have appeared in Slate, Variety, and numerous alt-weeklies based in the American Southwest.
Miles Reding is a freelance writer from Austin who writes about history and politics, and enjoys writing fiction as well. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in history from Northwestern University. More of his work can be found at his website, milesjreding.com.
Joseph A. Williams is an author, historian, and librarian based in Connecticut. His work has appeared at History.com, and he’s authored three books: The Sunken Gold, Seventeen Fathoms Deep, and Four Years Before the Mast.