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In Keeping the Peace Tales from the Old West we have a collection of lesser known stories of old west lawmen. The stories begin with the murder of Dora Hand, a very popular saloon singer in Dodge City, Kansas. Dora was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was murdered while she slept. The crime scene was investigated by Assistant City Marshal Wyatt Earp and Sheriff Bat Masterson who would lead a posse to hunt for her killer. Dora Hand would be the inspiration for the character Miss Kitty Russell played by Amanda Blake in the long running TV western Gunsmoke.
The First Marshal of Abilene was a hero named Thomas J. Smith who took on the bad men of Abilene with his bare fists. Marshal Smith was a veteran of the New York City Police Department who preferred not to use deadly physical force. His story led President Dwight D. Eisenhower to name him as his personal hero.
Marshal Fred White was killed on the streets of Tombstone by Curly Bill Brocius. Pima County Deputy Sheriff Wyatt Earp made the arrest of Curly Bill. He was backed up by his Brother’s Virgil and Morgan Earp.
El Paso City Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire fought in more gunfights then the five Earp brothers combined. Yet, Marshal Stoudenmire has been largely passed over by authors, TV, and movie creators. His exploits included his participation in the deadliest single gunfight in old west history. This includes the Battle at the OK Corral which occurred six months later.
An elderly Wyatt Earp was living a quiet life as a private citizen with his wife Josephine in Vidal, California. Then there came a call for help from the local constable who needed back up. There was an armed robbery in progress and the constable was the only lawman for miles.
Gambler and gunfighter Luke Short was a co-owner of Dodge City’s Long Branch Saloon in 1882. The following year Luke would be exiled from Dodge City by corrupt politicians and business competitors. Coming to the rescue was a group of up to fifty gunmen who were friends of Luke Short. This so called Dodge City War would make frontier law enforcement history.
Bat Masterson’s only one on one gunfight over a saloon girl Mollie Brennan provides an interesting and lesser known story about a deadly fight fueled by jealousy and rage.
Cochise County Deputy Sheriff Kiv Phillips is enforcing the law in post Wyatt Earp Tombstone. The story depicts the lawlessness that continued to plague this silver mining boomtown. Deputy Phillips has been forgotten by history but remembered here.
James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok was the second Marshal of Abilene, Kansas. His famous showdown with Phil Coe and over fifty disorderly persons on the streets of Abilene is told here.
Lincoln County, New Mexico Sheriff Patrick Garrett pursues the elusive rustler and cop killer Billy the Kid. Sheriff Garrett became legendary because of this manhunt.