John H. Slaughter, Sheriff: A Case Study in Arizona Justice, 1887-1890

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American West, Arizona, criminal justice, peace officers, John H. Slaughter, outlaws


Criminology and Criminal Justice | Cultural History | Sociology | United States History


Millions of pages have been written about Western outlaws and peace officers. Next to Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the most biographed men in America's history have been Western figures: Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickock and many more. The majority of these accounts border on fiction and make romantic heroes of those gunmen. In the 1880's and 1890's thousands of serialized dime novels, describing the gunfighters of Dodge City, Abilene, Tombstone and Denver, were sold in the East. The readers could take vicarious pleasure in the adventures of the West. These books have continued to sell in great numbers even to this day. I remember reading such novels, borrowed from my father's book shelves, when I was younger. Almost as soon as motion pictures and television came into vogue, Western pictures became the top attractions.

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