Fort Laramie Historical Association

965 Gray Rocks Road

Fort Laramie, WY 82212

307.837.2221 x 3012


Fort Laramie National Historic Site

965 Gray Rocks Road

Fort Laramie, WY 82212


National Park Service Website

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The Queen of Beddlam

SKU: 2005

Captain (later General) Charles King (1844-1933) is well remembered among Indian war historians as the soldier-writer who opened the door upon frontier military life. In dozens of novels and several highly regarded histories published between 1880 and 1914, King created vital images of America's fontier regulars, portraits with words of the Old Army, its great western campaigns, Indian battles, and the social intrigue of garrison life. Laramie: or, The Queen of Bedlam was one of King's first books, and it remains among his most successful. Published in 1889 and reprinted at least eight times, The Queen of Bedlam ably reflected King's abilities as an army story teller. Curiously, The Queen of Bedlam carried the subtitle "A Story of the Sioux War of 1876." Set in the centennial year against the great Black Hills gold rush and the bloody resolution to what was then known as "The Sioux Problem," The Queen of Bedlam's plot is devoid of major Sioux War action. Yet the entanglements of an officer and a woman both falsely accused of theft are to be enjoyed, and the backdrop-- the overcrowded fort, the pallid look, and the nearby Indian raiding-- is real, creating in sum a worthwhile view of Fort Laramie during its most important war. King often based his writings upon personal experiences. Although he was never actually stationed at Fort Laramie, King was a regular visitor during the movements of the Fifth U.S. Cavalry in the summer and fall of 1876. Later, as regimental adjutant he undoubtedly visited often from Fort D.A. Russell. References to King and his voluminous writings are abundant. Recommended are C.E. Dornbusch's Charles King, American Army Novelist (1963), a useful bibliography of the General's many books; Don Russell's insightful biographical introduction to the reprinted edition of King's Campaigning With Crook (1966); and Oliver Knight's analysis of King's writings as social history in Life and Manners in the Frontier Army (1978). Paul Hedren