The Old West Time-Life Series


Time Life Old WestBy DJ McAdam. ©

Back in the late 1980’s, I bought a used set of Time-Life Books, called “The Old West.”  There were thirteen volumes and, strange to say, I didn’t give any thought as to whether or not the set was complete.  Time-Life series books can usually stand on their own as individual volumes, which perhaps explains my lack of concern.

Recently I’ve looked at the books with renewed interest.  Having moved from the East Coast to New Mexico, I find remnants of the Old West all around me.  Consequently, the question of completeness became one worth researching.  Turns out my set was not complete –   there are actually twenty-six (!) volumes, plus a staple-bound Master Index – but, being more or less halfway there, completing the series seems a worthwhile goal.  Thus far, I’ve had decent luck finding needed copies on Amazon, buying a couple at a time. 

The books themselves are quite nice.  With the exception of the Master Index, they’re bound in brown leather or leatherette (best guess – bonded leather) that’s made to look like it’s tooled, and have pictorial covers. 

For those interested, here’s a list of books in the series, arranged alphabetically by title:


Title Author
Master Index   
The Alaskans  Keith Wheeler 
The Canadians  Ogden Tanner 
The Chroniclers  Keith Wheeler 
The Cowboys  William H. Forbis 
The End and the Myth  Paul O’Neill 
The Expressmen  David Nevin 
The Forty-Niners  William Weber Johnson 
The Frontiersmen  Paul O’Neill 
The Gamblers  Robert Wallace 
The Great Chiefs  Benjamin Capps 
The Gunfighters  Paul Trachtman 
The Indians  Benjamin Capps 
The Loggers  Richard Williams 
The Mexican War  David Nevin 
The Miners  Robert Wallace 
The Pioneers  Huston Horn 
The Railroaders  Keith Wheeler 
The Ranchers  Ogden Tanner 
The Rivermen  Paul O’Neill 
The Scouts  Keith Wheeler 
The Soldiers  David Nevin 
The Spanish West  William H. Johnson 
The Texans  David Nevin 
The Townsmen  Keith Wheeler 
The Trailblazers  Bil Gilbert 
The Women  Joan Swallow Reiter