ABOUT ROBERT LEE MURPHY

  • Award winning author Robert Lee Murphy published his first novel, Eagle Talons, The Iron Horse Chronicles–Book One, in 2014. Eagle Talons, the first book in the trilogy, follows newly orphaned Will Braddock’s quest in 1867 to determine his own destiny as he works on the first transcontinental railroad. Eagle Talons won the Bronze Will Rogers Medallion Award for 2015. Book two, Bear Claws, published in 2015, continues the exciting story across Wyoming and out to California in 1868, as Will helps the Union Pacific in its race against the Central Pacific. Bear Claws was awarded first place in the category of fiction by the Wyoming State Historical Society in 2016. Bear Claws won the Silver Will Rogers Medallion Award for 2016. In book three, Golden Spike, Will thwarts a scheme that might have stopped the joining of the railroads in 1869 at Promontory Summit, Utah. The first transcontinental railroad owes more to Will Braddock than the history books reveal. Golden Spike was published in July 2017 and was awarded the Silver Will Rogers Medallion Award for 2018.

    Murphy’s new stand-alone novel, Bozeman Paymaster: A Tale of the Fetterman Massacre, was published in 2022. Reminiscent of the Taliban prevailing in Afghanistan, this is the story of how in the nation’s drive to advance Manifest Destiny it blundered into one of its most distressing reverses. Fighting to defend their favorite buffalo hunting grounds following the Civil War, Lakota Chief Red Cloud’s coalition of Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians drove the military forces out of the Powder River country of modern-day Wyoming. On a bone-chilling day in December 1866, Captain William Fetterman led eighty men into the army’s worst defeat at the hands of the Indians until Custer’s Last Stand a decade later. Despite the turmoil of virtually constant Indian attacks at Fort Phil Kearny, a youthful paymaster clerk and a beautiful young schoolteacher fall in love. Their future is torn asunder when in the aftermath of the Fetterman Massacre the United States abandons the forts protecting the Bozeman Trail, closing the shortest route used by immigrants to reach Montana’s goldfields. Red Cloud’s War was the only war the American Indians won fighting the U.S. Army. 

    Murphy graduated from Oklahoma University. Following Army service, he worked as a civilian on all seven continents. Murphy Peak, Antarctica, bears his name. In addition to SCBWI, he is a member of Western Writers of America, the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, the Wyoming State Historical Society, the Historical Novel Society, Anthem Authors, and the Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Society.

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