Crime, Justice and Retribution in the American West, 1850–1900


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About the Book

Western movies are full of images of swaggering outlaws brought to justice by valiant lawmen shooting them down in daring gunfights before riding off into the sunset. In reality it would not have happened that way. Real lawmen did not simply walk away from a gunfight—they had to face the legal system and justify shooting a civilian in the line of duty.
Providing a more realistic view of criminal justice in the Old West, this history focuses on how criminals came into conflict with the law and how the law responded. The process is described in detail, from the common crimes of the day—such as train robbery and cattle theft—to the methods of apprehending criminals to their adjudication and punishment by incarceration, flogging or hanging.

About the Author(s)

Jeremy Agnew, a biomedical electronics consultant, holds a PhD in engineering and has been involved in the design and manufacture of medical devices for more than 30 years. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has written several books on the Old West.

Bibliographic Details

Jeremy Agnew
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 268
Bibliographic Info: 49 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6447-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2778-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface  1

One. The Criminal Classes  5

Two. Petty Crimes  25

Three. Stagecoach Robbers and Train Bandits  45

Four. Cattle Rustling and Horse Theft  62

Five. Mayhem and Murder  74

Six. Personal Violence and Gunfights  88

Seven. Discrimination and Hate Crimes  103

Eight. Officers of the Law  119

Nine. Lawmen by Any Other Name  138

Ten. Pursuit and Capture  155

Eleven. Lawyers and Judges  170

Twelve. Trials and Errors  189

Thirteen. Retribution and Punishment  209

Fourteen. Military Discipline  223

Postscript  241

Chapter Notes  245

Bibliography  253

Index  257