Bill Markley

Bill Markley
Topics: American Old West, History, Literature, South Dakota, Veterans/Military History, Writing
Communities: Pierre
Program Types: Speakers Bureau
Pierre, SD | (605) 224-5322

A Search for Truth in the Old West
Who wanted Crazy Horse killed? Were Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane lovers? Did Buffalo Bill ride for the Pony Express? Who fired first at the gunfight at the O.K. Corral? Could Custer have survived the Battle of the Little Big Horn? Were the cattle barons justified in starting Wyoming's Johnson County War? Why did the James/Younger Gang raid Minnesota's Northfield Bank? Markley presents both sides of these and other topics he and coauthor Kellen Cutsforth researched for their book, Calling Down the Thunder: A Search for Truth in the Old West released by Globe Pequot Press in October 2018.

Deadwood, the First Months
Deadwood Dead Men is the title of Markley's first historical novel based on actual events in Deadwood in August 1876. Markley discusses his research into Deadwood's past, its characters, and the events that unfolded in the mining boomtown. Markley also discusses the processes of writing fiction and nonfiction.

Dances with Wolves
2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of "Dances with Wolves" filmed in South Dakota. Markley was involved as a reenactor in its filming. Scenes that he participated in were the opening Civil War scene, the Fort Hays scene where Dunbar was sent further west, and the final scene where the cavalry was searching for the Lakota village in Spearfish Canyon. Markley kept a journal while working on the film and has published it as "Dakota Epic". Markley also discusses the process of journaling.

The Lawmen Wyatt Earp & Bat Masterson and the Outlaws Billy the Kid & Jesse James
These are names of legendary characters of the Old West. Markley has written a book comparing the lives of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, and a second book on Billy the Kid and Jesse James. He can tailor the presentation to talk about the lives of all four, just the lawmen, or just the outlaws.

Dakota Territory as Well as Civil War History
Markley can discuss a variety of historical topics, including sites associated with the life of Sitting Bull, the quarries at Pipestone, Minnesota, Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery up the Missouri River, Kenneth McKenzie -King of the Upper Missouri, the Choteau Family fur trade along the Missouri River, the Fort Pierre to Deadwood Trail, Fort Dilts in North Dakota, the murders of Bummer Dan, Spotted Tail, Wild Bill Hickok, and Di Lee - Deadwood's China Doll. The South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center has a guidon flag that most likely was from the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Markley discusses his research into the guidon and why he believes it is from the battlefield. He has also researched a variety of Civil War topics that he can tailor to the needs of the audience.