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  • Matthew Kerns

Texas Jack: America's First Cowboy Star


Texas Jack Omohundro. In September of 1873, three men stood together on a New York stage. On the right was Buffalo Bill Cody, the most famous hunter of the American West. On the left, Wild Bild Hickok, the frontier's most famous lawman. Between the two was America's most famous cowboy. Each had been a frontier scout, and each was among the most famous men in the country. So why, almost 150 years later, does everyone remember Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill, while most have forgotten Texas Jack?

Left to right: Wild Bill Hickok, Texas Jack Omohundro, Buffalo Bill Cody

I wanted to answer that question for myself. What kind of man could stand beside those legends? What kind of man could spend hours on the trail and later on the stage with Buffalo Bill? What kind of man could help Wild Bill pursue horse rustlers? What kind of man could introduce the lasso act to American audiences, lead some of the earliest treks into Yellowstone Park, lasso buffalo, scare Thomas Edison, marry the most beautiful and famous dancer on the planet, and become the first man to tell the world what a cowboy did and what a cowboy was?


And if a man could do all that, how had he been forgotten?


This book is my answer to those questions. What I found was a story of adventure, romance, tragedy, and life lived to the fullest. What I found was a story that stretched from the battlefields of Virginia to the cattle trails of Texas, from the prairies of Nebraska to the theaters of New York, from a small farm in rural Massachusetts to the highest town in the Colorado Rockies. What I found was America's first, and most important, cowboy star.


Texas Jack: America's First Cowboy Star will be released on April 1, 2021, by TwoDot Books. It is available for preorder now on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com, indiebound.com, rowman.com, or from your local independent bookseller. The stories I've covered on this page only scratch the surface of the life of Texas Jack and his wife, the Peerless Giuseppina Morlacchi, the Italian ballerina who introduced the cancan to America. It is a story that really has to be read to be believed. As Texas Jack said, "Were I to dare to tell you my adventures, they would fill a stack of books that would reach as high as the Bunker Hill Monument, and be as full of fire as the eruptions of Vesuvius. It is almost impossible for me to give you any idea of my life; for where shall I begin or leave off?"

Texas Jack Omohundro and his wife the Peerless Morlacchi

In this book, the story begins with Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill at the head of an Army column, dashing across the prairie in pursuit of horse raiders. It begins, like all good western stories, with a gunfight. It begins with a cowboy saving the life of the scout who would become the most famous American in the world.


It leaves off with the legend of the American cowboy.

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