The Quirt and the Spur

The Quirt and the Spur

Vanishing Shadows of the Texas Frontier

Double Mountain Books

by Edgar Rye

Foreword by Ty Cashion

Afterword by Charles Linck Jr.

Published by: Texas Tech University Press

372 Pages, 0.00 x 0.00 x 0.00

  • Paperback
  • 9780896724419
  • Published: September 2000


In 1909, former frontier judge and editor Edgar Rye introduced The Quirt and the Spur: Vanishing Shadows of the Texas Frontier to a reading public hungry for stories of this vanishing world. Drawing upon his experiences during the frontier’s heyday, Rye focused on the area around old Fort Griffin during the 1870s, a time and place that was fast fading from memory. At the heart of the narrative stood The Flat, a wild yet vibrant frontier village attached to the fort. Peopled by the desperate and the hopeful, the adventurous and the opportunistic, The Flat was a place in the tradition of Dodge City and Tombstone, towns that became synonymous with western violence and lawlessness. More than any other single work of western Texas historiography, The Quirt and the Spur helped shape the perception of Old Northwest Texas as a wild and woolly frontier. Rye, who intended the work to bring pleasure to old friends, never anticipated that it would be taken as history. Indeed, he anticipated that his more exacting reader would find his yarns to be “all wool and a yard wide.” Nevertheless, in The Quirt and the Spur Rye successfully grasped at those “vanishing shadows” of the frontier past and set them down for posterity. Over the years, historians and writers have drawn upon the mythical Fort Griffin in their own works, and today Rye’s opus is a staple in collectors’ libraries.