I would not have known about this Reasoner novel but for a plug by Bill Crider. Reasoner has so many damn books under other names.
This novel could be alternately titled Western Whores and the Gunmen Who Loved Them. Reasoner novels always seem to have a mix of hokey dialogue and realistic sex. The characters speak to one another without shyness and reveal feelings of gratitude, admiration, love, and other things that strangers would often keep quiet. The characters acknowledge their confusion over other people.
Anyway. Not all that much happens. Wild Bill Hickok decides to follow some friends out to Deadwood where the friends plan to start a mail and suttler business. Dan Ryan is a former cavalryman scouting a small wagon train of miners to Deadwood. Along for the story are: Calamity Jane trying to get Hickok to have sex with her. A pal of Hickok falling for a young hooker. Dan Ryan's mining partner falling and moving in with another hooker. A few Deadwood locals doing local things.
Not a whole lot happens until a shoot out in the end. But, this is a Reasoner novel and he always keeps me interested in the characters. Ryan's partner who fled his oppressively religious upbringing and falls for the hooker; his attempts to remold himself into a gunslinger. Dan's romantic interest for a former slave. Hickok's dual enjoyment and distaste for his celebrity.
1. Hickok is still guilt ridden from mistakenly killing his pal in Abilene several years ago. It seems like Abilene had a historical marker for that event. Maybe I'm just remembering where that location in town. I would like to go back to the greyhound museum.
2. Jane is a dumpy gal dressed in a man's buckskins.
3. Dan is a more honest and timid man than would be expected from a veteran of the Civil War and Indian campaigns.
4. Even the afterword is signed with the pen name.