In an era and an area notable for badmen and gunslingers, John Wesley Hardin was perhaps the most notorious. Considered by many of his contemporaries to be almost illiterate, he nevertheless left for publication after his death in 1895 this autobiography, which, though biased, is remarkably accurate and readable.
Hardin was born in 1853 in Bonham, Texas, the son of a Methodist preacher. His first brush with the law came at the age of fifteen when he killed a Negro during an altercation typical of the strife-torn Reconstruction era. In the ten years between his first killing in 1868 and his final capture and imprisonment, he killed more than a score of men in personal combat and became the "most wanted" fugitive of his time.