Monday, March 19, 2018

Lawman or Outlaw?

 In the aftermath of the Civil War, countless men found themselves jobless, homeless, and without families. Many headed west in search of new lives. Some hunted for gold, some set down new roots, some became cowboys, and some, those skilled with firearms, chose to become gunfighters. 

The line between being a lawman, an outlaw, or somewhere in between such as a bounty hunter or hired gun, was fine. Some men crossed that line back and forth. Tom Horn found acclaim as a hired gun, and it was also why he was hanged. Wyatt Earp walked on both sides of that line as well. So did many others. Grat, Bob, and Emmett Dalton were all lawmen before they formed the Dalton Gang.

The west was raw, unclaimed, with few laws, fewer courts and little to no government. But others were heading west too, setting down roots and they wanted law and order. That was easier said than done. Most towns or territories couldn’t afford to pay lawmen, so salaries were often a percentage of the fines paid by those arrested and/or bounties collected on wanted men. For those who might have been paid a salary, it was often very low and they also were charged with keeping the streets clean of debris, responsible for taking the national census, and distributing governmental proclamations. 

Unlike Matt Dillion on Gunsmoke, few men made a ‘career’ out of being a lawman, however, as writers, writing fiction, we can utilize Matt’s honor and longevity while creating our own lawmen.

My next book, In the Sheriff’s Protection, will go on sale April 1st

He will protect her

But can the sheriff resist his forbidden desire?

Oak Grove sheriff Tom Baniff might be hunting Clara Wilson’s criminal husband, but that doesn’t mean he won’t help protect Clara and her young son from the outlaw’s deadly threats. When he invites Clara to his hometown, Tom is determined to keep her safe. But with her so close, can he resist the allure of the only woman he’s ever wanted?

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