James Bowie gets quite a treatment here:
According to William C. Davis, though, he was the most notorious land scam artist in early America. Having read the book, I have to admit that I'm convinced -- short of Davis having outright manufactured all the documentary evidence he has on the US government's attempts to avoid the Bowie clan's attempts to annex all the best parts of about five states through forged Spanish land grants.
It's a hell of a story, honestly.
Then again, so is the Sandbar Duel. Here is part of Davis' description:
[Crain] missed Bowie, and Bowie's answering bullet just clipped Crain's cravat. Instantly Crain drew another [pistol] and fired, this time hitting Cuny in the thigh, severing an artery. Bowie saw the general fall, and as Crain turned to run back toward his friends in the willows, Bowie drew his other pistol and fired but missed. Then he reached to his belt and that new scabbard, drawing out the long knife [his brother] Rezin had given him.... the "tiger" followed Crain some distance, yelling out, "Crain you have shot at me, and I will kill you if I can." Suddenly he found himself isolated and without a loaded weapon. Crain turned and seeing what he called his "savage fury," threw his own empty pistol at him, catching Bowie on the side of the head that almost sent him to his knees.... Unable to answer [yet another combatant's] fire, Bowie yelled at him to shoot and be damned.It was quite a fight, and became a legend almost at once on the frontier. Later John Wayne, portraying Davy Crockett in The Alamo, would use the legend of it to sway the fictional Jim Bowie from abandoning the post before the fight with Santa Anna.
I recommend the Davis book, for those of you who like to read American history. It's not as kind to the legend as many might wish; but good men have to be able to do myth with one side of our brains, and history with the other. You shouldn't neglect either one.