Hornswogglers, Fourflushers & Snake-Oil Salesmen: True Tales of the Old West's Sleaziest Swindlers

By Matthew P. Mayo

Everyone loves a heel, specially one to whom not anything used to be sacred and who charmed his or her manner into the hearts, minds, and wallets of bumpkins and belles alike. Hornswogglers, Fourflushers, and Snake-Oil Salesmen offers dozens of stories of petty bandits, sleazy bunko artists, and conniving conmen (and conwomen!) who traveled West to hunt their fortunes through preying on those that went prior to them to settle and explore. 
Hornswogglers, Fourflushers, and Snake-Oil Salesmen tells who those nefarious ne'er-do-wells have been, what they did, and why they're remembered, and every bankruptcy is illustrated with attractive historical pictures and illustrations of the shady characters at paintings and play. 
Caution: Lock up your pockets earlier than reading!

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Earlier than lengthy, even though, his ability with them allowed him to make money—as a thimblerigger. not like many people who performed at this alteration at the extra universal shell video game (three walnut shells and a dried pea), Bennett constructed the sort of excessive measure of ability, such a lot particularly in palming the ball of paper, then putting it below whichever thimble he wanted, that he ensured he might by no means lose. And it really is acknowledged that he by no means did. a lot of Bennett’s good fortune lay in his passive method of the sport. He could take a seat quietly whisking the thimbles and ball round in a crazy-eight trend. finally this could allure the eye of curious passersby, and even though they might ask for extra demonstration of this ability, he could quietly try and abstain. basically with seeming nice reluctance could he release an indication. regardless of his visible ability, and the truth that he most probably cheated, humans could turn into mesmerized through his adroitness. as though they can no longer support themselves, they'd lay their cash down and element to the thimble they felt convinced concealed the ball of paper. And once they continuously guessed incorrectly, the strangers could suppose as though they instigated the whole affair, in order that they had little cause to bitch while he took their funds. For years, Bennett labored his craft up and down the Mississippi River aboard riverboats—a most probably position for swindlers to congregate when you consider that video games of likelihood have been what drew high-roller gamblers aboard within the first position. the rich could take journeys onboard the massive steamers simply to gamble, and so they cherished not anything larger than to take pleasure in quickly video games of likelihood corresponding to the thimbles. but if they tangled with Dr. Bennett, they misplaced their wad. until eventually his dying in Shreveport, Louisiana, on September 21, 1853, Dr. Samuel Bennett endured to ply his exchange as a crafty grasp con guy, often called “the Napoleon of the Thimble Riggers,” although he used to be the explanation a handful of states made thimblerigging unlawful by means of the early 1840s. “Is it no longer actual, stable sir,” the guy within the blue velvet dinner jacket made some degree of slowly trying to his correct, a calculated informal look, in order that all on the huge around desk, and never simply his comely better half, could see. “I say, isn’t it actual, Dr. , ah, Bennett, that you're often referred to as the King of the Thimble Riggers? ” the thing of his recognition was once a a little portly older gentleman with smartly oiled hair, undeniable yet trim moustaches, and kindly, yet weary eyes. It seemed the younger man’s revelation used to be whatever the older gent needed to have saved silent. A titter bubbled up from the speaker’s female friend, and one other joined in, a little bit coyly. and a pair of the lads paused their after-dinner cigars, eyebrows raised and eyes fastened at the blushing older guy. may perhaps or not it's attainable that this used to be the mythical “King of the Thimble Riggers,” the guy whose ability used to be such that the states of Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi all banned the perform of providing video games of probability with thimbles? may perhaps or not it's this guy was once of their presence?

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