MARK LEE GARDNER
Historian, Writer, Musician of the Western Experience
WINNER OF THE 2014 SPUR AWARD FROM THE WESTERN
WRITERS OF AMERICA FOR BEST WESTERN
NONFICTION HISTORICAL BOOK
An Indie Next List Selection
"Rollicking...with enough bloody action to engage readers enthralled by tales
of good versus evil."
-- New York Times Book Review
"Gardner’s re-creation of the Northfield Raid... orchestrates the often-unwieldy
particulars of the event with considerable virtuosity. ... It would be hard to im-
agine a more thorough account.
-- Washington Post
"Historian Gardner crafts an elegant narrative that's as entertaining as it is
historically accurate....A must-read for any western fan."
-- Publishers Weekly
"Gardner's meticulously-researched history of the Northfield Raid and its
bloody aftermath is told in the kind of compelling narrative that all historians
should emulate....Shot All To Hell is one of those very well researched, wonder-
fully written, and most objective histories that any reader will enjoy."
-- Doris Meredith
New York Journal of Books
"Action packed...a colorful portrait...A gripping read and probably tells all there
is to tell about a legendary group of psychopaths."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"Gardner has shed considerable light on a neglected aspect of the gang's life
of crime...[A] detailed, almost bullet-by-bullet account of the failed robbery."
"With careful research and well crafted prose, Mark Lee Gardner brings to life
the outlaws, lawmen, local citizens, and journalists who witnessed this failed bank
robbery and its aftermath....Gardner brings a new vitality to this famous epi-
sode....this retelling is lively, rich, and full."
-- Clyde A. Milner II
History Book Club
"[Readers] will delight in the exciting yet smooth way the intriguing story plays out
in the hands of Gardner....It's a winner and a must read for anyone interested in
perhaps the most infamous outlaws of the Old West."
-- Wild West Magazine
"[A] rootin'-tootin', chock-full-a-shootin' Old West tale...in glorious step-by-step
-- New York Post
"Like a heroic Mexican corrido, historian-musician Mark Lee Gardner's Shot All
To Hell is both a personal ode and history of the infamous James-Younger
gang...Gardner's prose is paced like the James's ride into infamy."
-- True West Magazine
"Gardner's quick prose and wit enhances the fast-paced action-packed historical
account. This book should be on the bookshelf of every fan of Western history."
-- American Cowboy
"[A] hard, detailed look at the infamous Northfield Raid...thoroughly researched."
-- Dallas Morning News
For special online features related to Mark and his books, go to his HarperCollins author site:
In addition to his research and writing, Mark is an award-winning performer of the music of the 19th and early 20th-century American West. Watch a PBS video of Mark performing the 1927 "Blind Andy" Jenkins ballad "Billy the Kid." Click here.
Mark's latest CD is Outlaws: Songs of Robbers, Rustlers, and Rogues, a saddlebag of famous and lesser known American ballads such as "Cole Younger," "Jesse James," "Billy the Kid," and "Sam Bass." Click on the CD cover below to listen and order.
This new collection from Mark Lee Gardner, a gifted singer who specializes in songs from the Old West, deals with such notorious figures as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Cole Younger, and Sam Bass, not forgetting women like Belle Starr and Calamity Jane. Two standouts are the lovely ballad “Kentucky Moonshiner” and Gardner’s quiet, introspective take on Bob Dylan’s “Billy,” written for the 1973 Peckinpah film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. A lapidary picker, Gardner accompanies himself on an assortment of period guitars, banjos, and mandolins. Reference-caliber reproduction. Highly recommended.
The Absolute Sound
Outlaws is like having someone sing you a book of stories. "John Hardy," "Sam Bass," "Cole Younger," and "Jesse James" are all song titles that remind the listener of hours spent reading and researching Western history. Gardner, author of To Hell on a Fast Horse, a marvelous dual biography of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, is obviously having lots of fun bringing you the not-so-accurate stories of these outlaw legends. (As he points out in his liner notes, "The truth is seldom as much fun as the myth.") None of it is more fun than "The Finger of Billy the Kid," a song sharing how the Kid's trigger finger ended up in a jar. Our fascination with the outlaws of the Old West is only intensified by Gardner's fine CD, which will no doubt drive many right back to the history books.
A blend of history and music, Outlaws is a grab bag of ballads devoted to the West's less savory characters. Rich and rollicking instruments—Gardner plays an open-back banjo and tenor guitar —help bring the stories to life.
2013 & 2014 Highlights and Upcoming Events
August 17: Mark was a featured guest on NPR's All Things Considered Weekend Edition, discussing his latest book, Shot All To Hell. Listen to the interview here.
August 24: Mark appeared on Fox News' morning show, Fox & Friends. Watch the video.
February 5-8, 2014: Mark was a featured speaker at the CCIRA 2014 Conference on Literacy, Denver.
February 21-22: Mark and his son Vance performed for the annual High Plains Snow Goose Festival in Lamar, Colorado. Check out this video.
April 19: Mark performs old-time music at the annual Spring on the Farm at Watkins Mill State Park, Lawson, Missouri.
April 27: Mark speaks and performs for Missouri Valley Sundays at the Kansas City Public Library.
May 6: William Morrow Paperbacks releases the paperback edition of Shot All To Hell.
June 28: Mark will attend the awards banquet of the Western Writers of America where he will pick up Spur Awards in the categories Best Western Nonfiction Historical for his book Shot All To Hell and Best Western Short Nonfiction for his Wild West magazine cover story "The Other James Brother."
July 12: Mark speaks for the Bent's Fort Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association, Grand Theater, Rocky Ford, Colorado.
July 23: Mark and Rex Rideout perform for members of the Wild West History Association at the Buffalo Bill Museum, Golden, Colorado.
July 27: Mark and Rex were featured performers at the very first Fiddles, Vittles & Vino at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, and we're very excited to be back for the event's big tenth anniversary! More info here.
September 16: Mark speaks at the meeting of the Utah Westerners, Salt Lake City.
October 2-4: Mark will present at the annual conference of the National James-Younger Gang, Fort Smith Arkansas. More info here.
September 23-26, 2015: Mark and Rex will participate in the 2015 Fur Trade Symposium at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, La Junta, Colorado.