We all know the ones who have questionable aspects to their careers and were no more than “part time” lawmen—Wild Bill Hickok, Dallas Stoudenmire, Ben Thompson and Elfego Baca. They were more gunfighters than professional lawmen. The fame of others, like Bat Masterson, eclipses what they actually accomplished as peace officers. Although controversial, the Earps and Frank Canton wore badges for many years and were mostly on the side of the law. And some are remembered only for the way they died—such as Chauncey Whitney (murdered by Billy Thompson in Ellsworth, Kansas) and Fred White (killed in the streets of Tombstone, Arizona, by Curly Bill Brocius).
Those that I consider most deserving for what they did as lawmen are Heck Thomas, Bill Tilghman and Bud Ledbetter of Oklahoma; John Slaughter of Arizona; Pat Garrett of New Mexico; Harry Morse of California; John X. Beidler of Montana; and Bear River Tom Smith of Kansas. Their accomplishments outweigh any negatives in their lives.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The Year of the Almost Western
Film historians will consider 2020 an anomaly in the history of Western film and television.
Steak-out in History
Take a tasty trip to the Old West at two storied saloons: the Buckhorn Exchange in Denver, Colorado, and The Palace in Prescott, Arizona.
THE SIOUX LEADER’S FINAL FLIGHT TO FREEDOM
The Best of Times The Worst of Times
In 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic, Old West auction houses adapted to meet the needs of their clients and their collectors.
Paul Andrew Hutton
True West’s historian is a natural storyteller whose love of country and the West makes him one of best in his field.
On the History Trail with the Old Bison: A Memoir
I first met Robert M. Utley in May 1977.
Our 19th Annual Celebration of the Absolute Best of the West!
For many in 2020, great treks, trips and vacations to the American West were put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
GREAT SCOUT AND PLAINSMAN
My Favorites of 2020
Thank You for Helping Me Through 2020
A Tall Tale of Two Bills
Did lawman Bill Tilghman really arrest outlaw Bill Doolin?