Pecos Bill
Pecos Bill by Laura Bannon, from Pecos Bill: The Greatest Cowboy of All Time by James Cloyd Bowman (1937)
Characters Adapted from Other Works
First Appearance: The Saga of Pecos Bill
Creator: Edward O'Reilly (possibly based on an earlier source)
Nationality: United States, formerly Republic of Texas, was probably born in Mexican territory but never identified as a Mexican
Date of Birth: Early 1830s
Date of Death: Late 19th century
Cause of Death: Laughed himself to death
Spouse: Slue-foot Sue
Occupation: Cowboy, Inventor, Rancher, Adventurer
Affiliations: Hell's Gate Gulch Ranch
Appearing in:

"Slue-Foot Sue and the Witch in the Woods"
by Laura Frankos

Fantasy Pastiche
Type of Appearance: Direct

Pecos Bill is a fictional Texas cowboy, noted for his superhuman strength and endless inventiveness. Bill's stories are often tongue-in-cheek etiological myths that use Bill's actions to explain the origin of American geographical features and common cowboy tools and customs. Some experiences of Bill appear to be based on those of Hercules, Romulus, and other Ancient Greek and Roman heroes. Supporting characters in Bill stories include his wife Slue-foot Sue, his horse Widow Maker, and Rat the pet snake.

The oldest known written accounts of Pecos Bill are Edward O'Reilly's stories for Century Magazine beginning in 1917, which were collected in the book Saga of Pecos Bill (1923). O'Reilly claimed that the stories were taken from Texan oral lore of the late 19th century, a claim recognized by some modern reference books. However, no pre-1917 reference to Bill has ever been found, so Pecos Bill may very well be "fakelore" rather than true folklore.

Pecos Bill in "Slue-Foot Sue and the Witch in the Woods"[]

Pecos Bill was overjoyed when his new bride Slue-foot Sue returned to Hell's Gate Gulch Ranch from her unwilling world tour, but was angry that she had endangered her own life by ignoring his admonition not to mount Widow Maker. Sue assuaged his anger by having Bean Hole cook him an excellent chicken dinner (made from the legs of Baba Yaga's izbushka), and then achieving the long-delayed consummation of their marriage.[1]

See also[]

  • Paul Bunyan, a similar folkloric hero of dubious authenticity.


  1. Did You Say Chicks?, pgs. 24, 30-31, mmp.