Books: On Top of Old Matchless


by JOHN BURKE 273 pages. Putnam. $7.95.

The ruination of the Old West was the advent of good women, who shuttered the bordellos, sent the highrollers packing, and imported pianos and preachers in a wistful attempt to transform mining camps into mini-Philadelphias. Baby Doe was not one of them. A pocket Venus from Oshkosh and no better than she should be, blonde, blue-eyed Elizabeth McCourt Doe had shed a feckless husband and arrived in Leadville — Colorado's Magic Mountain — almost at the moment in 1880 when the played-out...

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