Four White Horses and a Brass Band

True Confessions from the World of Medicine Shows, Pitchmen, Suckers, Fixers, and Shills


Violet McNeal ran away from her family’s rural Minnesota farm in the late 1880s and fell under the spell of conman and patent medicine “doctor” Will Archimbauld who hooked her on opium and promises of fame and fortune. Violet soon learned to become Princess Lotus Blossom and was the best pitchman, nostrum seller, and conwoman to roam the west in a torch-lit wagon. Four White Horses and a Brass Band is Violet’s story of life on the road with the medicine show and reveals the secrets of conman’s trade. First published in 1947, the Feral House edition features an extensive afterword on the history of the patent medicine trade and evolution of the lure of miracle cures and healers. Also included are a glossary of the grifter’s cant and samples of scripts used by Violet and other infamous “doctors.”

ISBN: 978-1627310833 | Releases November 19, 2019