When the Magic Wagon comes to town, folks get a genuine medicine show that includes a wrestling ape, fancy shooting, and a peek at the petrified body of Wild Bill Hickok himself. They also get bottles of a whiskey-laced elixir to drown their aches and pains. Old Albert drives the wagon, a raw-boned youngster named Buster Fogg does the odd jobs, and "champion" trick shooter and fast talker Billy Bob Daniels owns the show.
Billy Bob claims to be the illegitimate son of Wild Bill himself. As storms hover in their wake, our intrepid trio (and one ape) make their way to a Godforsaken hole named Mud Creek, an East Texas town where the dark cloud of fate hovers and violence looms in the shadows....
"I remember the night I picked up Joe Lansdale's The Magic Wagon...it was the strangest Western I'd ever read, full of creepy-crawly stuff as well as gunfighters, straddling genres with authority, and it dealt with the human condition in a profound yet unpretentious manner that any sensible writer would envy." (Dean R. Koontz)