The Klondike Gold Rush

The Last Best West Best Cowboy Gear.

The Author - Longfellow.

As far as we know we were the first on the web to offer more than just a paragraph as an excerpt from a fiction novel.
That was seven years ago.

The nine excepts from The Last Best West constitute about 35 pages of the novel and when read in order, give the reader a  strong sense for the characters, drama, and adventure of The Last Best West. Story Synopsis

Excerpt Order 

**We rate the book 14A **

If you enjoy these excerpts we guarantee you'll enjoy the rest - or your money back. No bull.


The Silver Spur Gunfighters.

Legends of the West Posters
The Silver Spur Gunfighters.

Old West Posters
We've developed an original line of Old West Poster Art - and frankly we think there's nothing like it any where else. Old West Heroes like Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickock, George Armstrong Custer, and Gunfighters like Jesse James, Butch and Sundance, John Wesley Hardin, Billy The Kid, and Doc Holliday have all been faithfully portrayed in the context of their times.

Go to our Old West Posters page.

Longfellow wearing "The Travis" .

The Silver Spur Gunfighters.


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Trading Post's were one of the cornerstones that drove the fur trade and subsequent exploration of North America by Europeans.

Early in the 16th Century English and French fishermen were making staggering hauls of cod, off the coast of Newfoundland. To survive the return journey the fishermen had to smoke the fish before they returned across the Atlantic.

York Factory. The largest Trading Post of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Local Indian Tribes, eager to acquire metal goods; Knives, axes, pots, pans, and the such, initiated trade with the fishermen. Their chief product to trade was furs, which the fishermen eagerly brought back to France and England.

The fishermen sold the furs quickly, and when the wide-brimmed felt hat came into fashion, the demand for beaver pelts increased dramatically.

The best material for the felt hats was the soft under fur of the beaver, which had tight barbs that matted together tight.

 The competition between the French and English, for control of the fur trade, drove the exploration of North America, and was the impetuous for early colonization by Europeans.

Beaver pelt.

By the early 17th century, the French had established trading posts in several areas of Quebec, and the fur trade grew exponentially, every year.

It's ironic that the dominant economic and political force of the north half of North America, for almost 300 years, was an English company, founded by 2 Frenchmen. Des Groseilliers, and Radisson were disillusioned by the tight control of  trading rights, and the corruption of the local officials of New France (Quebec).

Having been rebuffed in their attempt to get a fur trading licence from French officials, they turned to the English. The Company of Adventurers of Hudson's Bay,  was granted a Royal English Charter on May 2, 1670. The Hudson's Bay Company was given political and economic control of all the lands "drained by Hudson's Bay".

Many of the early explorers were in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, and over the centuries those companies the HBC didn't drive out of business, they bought out.

Today, The Hudson's Bay Company stands as the oldest incorporated joint-stock merchandising company in the English-speaking World.  And all because of the cute saw-toothed little beaver.

Something Special and Unique

Back in May, 2006 we were rounded up to work on a re-enactment of the moment when Jack McCall walked into Tom Nuttal's #10 Saloon on Aug 2 1876, in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, and murdered Wild Bill Hickok.

This painting by Canadian artist Ken Dewar, was the end result of the afternoon of filming in Heritage Park, an authentic 19th century town, in Calgary. 130 years to the day that McCall did his cowardly deed the painting was unveiled in front of City Hall in Deadwood, South Dakota, on August 2, 2006.

More information and how to order

New Poster Line
Authentic Reproductions of Original Wanted Posters


Custom Cowboy Hats from The Last Best West
In today's world of depleting Ozone and the rise of melanoma and skin cancer - everyone needs a good hat to shield their face and neck from the harmful effects of the sun. What could be more timeless and useful than a fine fur-felt Cowboy Hat? It will keep your face and neck in constant shade - regardless of the position of the sun, and your eyes and lips will say thankee-thankee. It'll be your friend for life and will age just as gracefully as you!

We'll give you what you want.
Made to your Specifications. If you don't see what you want - send us a picture - and we'll make our version of that hat.

Working with Smithbilt Hats (One of Canada's premier hat makers - since 1919) we're introducing a line of Traditional Old West, and Classic Western Movie Hats. Longfellow researched the designs based on historical photos and original mail order catalogues from the late 1800's and the early decades of the 20th Century. Of particular help was the Smithsonian Website, the Library, and the archives of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. And of course those great Hollywood Westerns.

Old Fashion Quality
You won't find these western hats at your nearest mall. Many of the brim shapes or crowns may look familiar, may even be the same, but they are poor imitations, cookie-cutter designs; mass produced and available virtually anywhere. Any Custom Hat you buy from The Last Best West - has character build right in it from the hands of the master hatters at Smithbilt Hats. Each hat is unique, hand crafted using the same hat making equipment that was already used when Morris Shumiatcher-Smith opened Smithbilt Hats in 1919.

Custom Western Hat
Traditional Cowboy Hat


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Old West Badges

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