Johnson does an excellent job in giving not only a factual and well-documented account of Ringo's life, but spends a great deal of effort giving it historical and cultural context typically missing from biographies concerning this period in the Old West.
Although Johnson's insistence on not romanticising or falsifying Ringo's story may have irritated those who desire only the traditional drama of shoot-outs and mob lynchings, he does a tremendous service in prying loose the goo of unsubstantiated rumor, gossip, and outright fantasy so often indulged by other biographers. A taste for Old West novels is of course understandable. But this is not a novel masquerading as a biography. It's the real deal. We get an opportunity to see Ringo and those he associated with in their natural setting - which was contentious and violent times, at best. And, Ringo's reputation as a career criminal falls apart under Johnson's scrutiny.
I did note a couple of errors regarding some more distant associations of Ringo's, but none of these are of a serious nature in terms of this biography, itself. It becomes obvious almost immediately that Johnson is an educated genealogist, who not only relies reasonably on written records ignored by others, but he does an excellent job of 'sanity checking' many rumors and myths with hard evidence. It is one thing to plow through thousands of old documents, but another matter entirely to assemble those facts and figures into a working portrait of a person. This is not by any means the typical sloppy work of those who prefer high drama and hard punchlines over reality and thoughtful rendering of those realities.
You can feel assured that this volume will leave you with a clear and well-documented picture of Ringo, including who he really was, where he came from, and the various obstacles and challenges he encountered in his life.