Yes, there were UFO sightings by cowboys, ranchers, and others in the “Old West.” Perhaps not as dramatic as Hollywood’s version, these true-life UFO cases of the 1800s are nonetheless every bit as interesting, according to a newly-released book. Imagine John Wayne riding his trusty steed over a rocky ridge and finding , littered across the desert in front of him, a crashed extraterrestrial spacecraft and the bodies of its non-human occupants. This scenario of the Wild West meeting the far future may not be as far-fetched as some people think, according to Noe Torres and John LeMay, authors of the newly-released The Real Cowboys & Aliens: UFO Encounters of the Old West, 2nd Edition. The book features over 30 illustrations by award-winning artists Neil Riebe, Shane Olive, and Jared Olive, and is now available at RoswellBooks.com and all major online book retailers. “After the Steven Spielberg movie Cowboys & Aliens was announced in 2010, we thought it would be interesting to look at actual UFO cases from the 1800s,” Torres said. “While the movie is an enjoyable work of fiction, clearly it has little or no basis in reality, and we wanted our book to present actual, documented cases of UFOs in the Old West.”
Writing with middle school and high school students in mind, the authors emphasized that people in the Old West really did see strange flying ships streaking across the sky. Hundreds of UFO sightings were reported throughout North America in the 19th century, as documented in numerous newspaper articles and books of that time period. Farmers, cowboys, ranchers, and others reported seeing strange signs and wonders in the sky, and occasionally, they also claimed to meet beings that were clearly not human.
The first edition of their book was praised by critics and was wildly successful among both school-age children and adults. A review in New Mexico’s major daily newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal, proclaimed, “Hey, Hollywood. If you’re going to make a big-budget movie about extraterrestrial contact with Wild West cowpunchers, can’t you at least try to get it right? … Of course spacemen explored our planet in the days of saddle-sore lawmen and swinging saloon doors. But it wasn’t the cartoonish picture of evil planetary invaders, complete with hideous teeth and slimy hands emanating from their reptilian bellies that is portrayed in this Hollywood blockbuster…. The Real Cowboys & Aliens: UFO Encounters of the Old West, sets the record straight, using information gathered from yellowed newspaper clippings from the 1800s to tell of numerous close encounters between farmers and cowboys on the range and mysterious visitors in flight.” (Albuquerque Journal, Aug. 18, 2011, Page A1).
“We were, of course, extremely gratified at the praise we received for our first edition,” Torres said, “So a year later, we decided to go back in and improve a few things about the first edition and essentially create a ‘director’s cut’ of the book with some additional content and illustrations. We also got one of the most talented artists we’ve ever worked with, Joe Calkins, to create a new artistic concept for our front cover. The result is dramatic, depicting a Wild West showdown between an Old West gunslinger and an extraterrestrial. Looking at the cover, you get the overwhelming feeling that something is about to happen and that it won’t be pleasant for the humans.”