Roger D. McGrath

Chronicles corresponding editor Roger D. McGrath is the author of Gunfighters, Highwaymen, and Vigilantes. A U.S. Marine veteran and former history professor at UCLA, he has appeared on numerous documentaries, including The Real WestBiographyTales of the GunCowboys & Outlaws, and Wild West Tech.


Latest by Roger D. McGrath in Chronicles

Results: 161 Articles found.
  • Cowboy Heroes
    September 17, 2018

    Cowboy Heroes

    The cowboys were our heroes. There were dozens to choose from. My favorite among the B Western stars was William Boyd, who made 66 films as Hopalong Cassidy beginning in 1935 and ending in 1948.

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  • October 2018

    Butch Cassidy, Part 1

    Starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was a smash success when it was released in 1969. Surprisingly, the movie generally follows the actual events of Butch Cassidy’s outlaw life.

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  • David Crockett
    August 2018

    David Crockett

    “Watch what people are cynical about,” said General Patton, “and one can often discover what they lack.” Since the 1960’s I’ve been watching what are often called revisionist historians trying to destroy the American heroes I grew up admiring.

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  • Parry O’Brien
    June 2018

    Parry O’Brien

    It’s difficult to explain today that, from the 1920’s through the mid-1960’s, track and field was a major sport in Southern California. There were several reasons for this.

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  • April 2018

    Hang ’Em High

    I was recently watching Westward Ho, one of the many dozens of B Westerns I have in my collection, and it struck me that until the 1940’s vigilantes were most often portrayed in the movies as the good guys.

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  • February 1, 2018

    The Long Sadness

    William Ball was just shy of 19 and living in the town of Souris on the prairies of Canada when war erupted in Europe in August 1914. The region was still something of a frontier, devoted to trapping and trading with Indians, and inhabited by hearty, adventurous types, Ball among them.

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  • February 2018

    The Klondike Stampede, Part II

    The 250 Indians who inhabited Dyea on the eve of the gold rush were Chilkats, members of the Tlingit tribe. They were short and stocky, and excellent packers. They commonly carried packs of 100 pounds or more.

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  • December 2017

    The Klondike Stampede, Part I

    It has always surprised me that the last great gold rush in North America is mostly absent from American history textbooks, especially those of more recent vintage. It’s as if the stampede to the Klondike never happened.

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  • September 28, 2017

    Ace of Aces: Richard Bong

    He was an all-American boy who became an American hero in World War II.

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  • October 2017

    The Indians Who Never Were

    Portland and Seattle have developed sizeable communities of disaffected leftists who are antagonistic toward everything that is traditional America. Hundreds of young folks are ready at a moment’s notice to flood into the streets to protest the offense du jour.

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  • August 2017

    The Real McCoy

    In the early 1950’s when my family got our first TV set—it had a whopping 12" screen with a green tint—we kids tuned in to The Tim McCoy Show, which aired early Saturday evenings on a local Los Angeles station, KTLA, Channel 5.

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  • June 2017

    White Slaves

    For many years I taught a U.S. history survey course. One of my lecture topics was American slavery. I made a real effort to put the peculiar institution into historical perspective.

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  • Kit Carson
    April 2017

    Kit Carson

    Though the mountain men were responsible for blazing nearly every trail to the Pacific Coast, discovering the natural wonders of the Trans-Mississippi West, and providing the muscle that fueled the fur trade, few gained national recognition.

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  • Butch O’Hare
    February 2017

    Butch O’Hare

    For years I taught a course on the history of World War II. I liked to ask the students if any of them had ever flown into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Invariably, one or more in each class had.

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  • November 9, 2016

    No Apologies

    I am one of those who has hoped for a Trump victory since he announced his intention to run in the Republican primary. It was simple. He came out forcefully on the issue of immigration, which normally caused Republican candidates to be struck dumb and blind.

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  • December 2016

    Corsair Ace Ken Walsh

    Americans have always loved their real-life Horatio Alger characters. They fired our imagination as children and were worthy of emulating. I hate to see many of those who were an inspiration to me disappear from our histories.

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  • The Gunfighter: Myth or Reality?
    October 2016

    The Gunfighter: Myth or Reality?

    The reality of the Old West does not sit well with many in academe, who take pride in thinking they are debunking what they call cherished myths of the American people. I think this is especially the case when talking about gunfighters.

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  • An Aroused Populace—With Guns
    August 2016

    An Aroused Populace—With Guns

    At the Pulse nightclub on June 16, Omar Seddique Mateen, a Muslim on his own personal jihad, opened fire on the crowd of more than 300. No one shot back. Some tried to hide in the bathrooms.

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  • The Okie From Oildale
    June 2016

    The Okie From Oildale

    A boyhood pastime when I was growing up was building radios. We did it in Cub Scouts and again, at a more sophisticated level, in Boy Scouts. Various kits were available, but we all started with a simple crystal set.

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  • Hollywood’s Lone Ace
    April 2016

    Hollywood’s Lone Ace

    He is virtually unknown to Americans today, though he appeared in 65 movies and was the only actor to become an ace during World War II.

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Results: 161 Articles found.