The names Billy the Kid, Frank and Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, and Pat Garrett paint a picture of a romanticized version of the old West to most people. However, the truth is that this was a very brutal and bloody time in history that saw countless victims brutalized, robbed, or killed. Life was cheap and death could be found in saloons, cat houses, and numerous other locations. More
The old West was one of the most turbulent and dangerous periods in American history and it saw the rise of a character who became known as the outlaw or desperado. Men such as Billy the Kid, Jesse and Frank James, the Dalton brothers, ran roughshod over the law and killed anyone that stood in their way. In addition to the outlaw gangs, there were the lone gunmen who became know as gunfighters. These fast guns built a reputation by killing or murdering numerous victims. One such notorious gunslinger named John Westley Hardin was reported to have killed somewhere between 20 to 40 men, and he is just one of many who ran up large totals of kills. To combat these criminal elements citizens many times had to join together and form Vigilante groups or hire law enforcement men such as Wild Bill Hickok, or Pat Garrett. These men both good and bad left a bloody legacy that his never again been rivaled in the annals of the United States. It is likely that the men from this time period will live forever in the literature and movies that constantly retell their stories.
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