San Diego, CA—Documentary filmmaker and award-winning author Nicholas Clapp has once more returned to the West in his new book, The Outlaw’s Violin: Or Farewell, Old West. The book follows the real-life story of Billy “Kid” Fraser – the Montana Outlaw – who over a century ago traveled the West from Nevada’s Virginia City to Montana’s Bannack, and then on to Arizona’s Oatman and California’s Death Valley – to finally settle in Eureka, Nevada, where he was to bring grand opera to a desert town.
A battered and broken homemade violin, discovered at a Mojave Desert swap meet, was to provide an insight into the life of Kid Fraser. Born on the planks of San Francisco wharf, he was to grow up in a hard luck family ever in pursuit of “the next big thing.” They were “tramp miners” in search of a golden dream, but more often than not coming up empty handed. Yet they carried on, eventually settling in Eureka, Nevada, a town that surprisingly had an Opera House, which still stands today. Kid fancied himself a desperado, yet was drawn to life as a musician. Ultimately, music saved the day as Kid recruited international opera star Mignon Nevada to grace his town’s Opera House with what may have been one of the best performances of her career.
Nicholas Clapp’s previous books have chronicled the desert west from the time of Indian shamans through the excitement of gold and silver rushes, cause for Death Valley historian Richard Lingenfelter to praise his “delightfully and visually captivating journey through the lively boom camps of the past.” He and his wife Bonnie have roamed Western America’s badlands and derelict mining camps – and found them enchanting, if on occasion scary. Their historical, real-life characters and intriguing stories have an inescapable wild and wooly appeal.
The Outlaw’s Violin: Or Farewell, Old West
Author: Nicholas Clapp
Year Published: 2019
Softcover | 7 x 9 | 152 pp.