Policing the Elephant : Crime, Punishment, and Social Behavior on the Overland Trail
San Marino, California
Huntington library Press
Policing the Elephant, the companion volume to Law for the Elephant, examines criminal activity and its consequences among travelers on the overland trail in the early nineteenth century. Reid consulted hundreds of primary sources to discover how justice was meted out—without police, attorneys, or courts. Separating fact from fiction, he explores how emigrants dealt with spousal abuse, homicide, robbery, organized crime, and larceny. He also looks into famous episodes of executions. Introducing real people and real incidents, his book shows that Americans have been far more law abiding than television, the movies, and pulp fiction would often have us believe.