The Spoilers is for the most part a true story. In 1882, San Francisco was the wildest, the wickedest, and certainly the most dangerous city in the West. The cowtowns and mining camps, by comparison, were tame stufff. Host to the Barbary Coast and Chinatown, not to mention a waterfront steeped in infamy, the city by the bay was a cosmopolitan hellhole. In that day and time, it was considered the roughest, and by far the most depraved, metropolis on the North American Continent.
Yet, during this same era, San Francisco was the premier city of the Old West. A financial center, a place of sophistication and culture, it was already a mythical wonder famed for its natural beauty and idyllic setting. Beneath the surface, however, there was an unholy marriage between underworld vice lords and corrupt politicians. Their alliance, bolstered by savage methods and a callous disregard for human life, was to rule San Francisco for nearly aquarter-century. Their downfall, when it came, happened very much as described in the story that follows.
The characters who people The Spoilers are real. Their names are unchanged, and the diabolic manner in which they pillaged San Francisco required no invention. Some license has been taken with events and dates, but the spoilers themselves are, if anything, less formidable than they were in real life. Luke Starbuck represents a breed apart. A detective and manhunter, he relied on wits and guts, and when necessary, a fast gun. His assignment in The Spoilers borders more on fact than fiction.