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Why is Wyatt Earp and Other Western Lawman So Famous?

8wid

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I probably will sound fairly ignorant for asking something about this, but why in the world are law men like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and other marshals from the Wild West considered so legendary? Why do they get so much notoriety in history for helping to end crime in the West when it was really the increasing presence of the military in the region, technology, and rise of permanent communities that brought an end to the crime of America's western territories. It seems to me all they did was kill scores of men without a trial, started fights in bars and saloons, and became famous for using their guns to solve all their problems even though in the broad scheme of the West they contributed little to anything in actually improving the safety and security of civilians in the West? Why are they so legendary today?
 
I probably will sound fairly ignorant for asking something about this, but why in the world are law men like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and other marshals from the Wild West considered so legendary? Why do they get so much notoriety in history for helping to end crime in the West when it was really the increasing presence of the military in the region, technology, and rise of permanent communities that brought an end to the crime of America's western territories. It seems to me all they did was kill scores of men without a trial, started fights in bars and saloons, and became famous for using their guns to solve all their problems even though in the broad scheme of the West they contributed little to anything in actually improving the safety and security of civilians in the West? Why are they so legendary today?

Well, one one hand, I think you've seen too many Old West films. On the other, you do have a point. That being said, Wyatt Earp didn't really become a "hero" until a biography was published after his death that paints him as a white knight of the West. These days its considered to be fairly embellished by the author. Though I don't think anyones ever claimed that Earp helped end crime in the West, especially considering crime is still very much alive there.

But all that aside, I guess its the same reason why people like Punisher or the movie Drive and other vigilante/badass-goes-on-a-bad-guy-kicking-rage-type film.
 
They're legendary because their deeds made for good, somewhat inspirational stories.
 
I probably will sound fairly ignorant for asking something about this, but why in the world are law men like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and other marshals from the Wild West considered so legendary? Why do they get so much notoriety in history for helping to end crime in the West when it was really the increasing presence of the military in the region, technology, and rise of permanent communities that brought an end to the crime of America's western territories. It seems to me all they did was kill scores of men without a trial, started fights in bars and saloons, and became famous for using their guns to solve all their problems even though in the broad scheme of the West they contributed little to anything in actually improving the safety and security of civilians in the West? Why are they so legendary today?

Because they were wrote up constantly in the major newspapers all across the country and were the subjects of hundreds of "dime" novels about their exploits. This made them popular. They were the media stars of their day.
 
What Lee said.

They were the superheroes of their day. They arent as popular today but are seen as romantic historical figures, even if much of the credit goes to the military as you said.
 
Because he did cool stuff in a "few guys against impossible odds scenario." Even without the embellishments of his biography he's still got the kind of story people like to tell. Wether or not he's singlehandedly responsible for bringing law to the western territories is irrelevant when it comes to wether or not people are going to want to tell and retell his story.
 
this book is a real quick and fun read on wyatt earp. the dude was not only a genuinely good man and brave as hell, but he was also a complete bad ass.

http://www.amazon.com/Wyatt-Earp-Sp...F8&qid=1343080131&sr=1-15&keywords=wyatt+earp

lots of things played a role in taming the west. and while in the grand scheme of things these guys may have only played a small part in that, the small part that they did play took guts and bravery and in the end it made for damn good stories.
 
Yeh, in those times you hear about something like the stuff they done you told people about it. Word spread and it became more fanciful and fantastic and eventually you've built up heroes.

Chances are most of them were punching drunks for kicks, but hey, history is tinted that way.
 
I know who "Wyatt Earp" is but who is "Other Western Lawman"? I've never heard of him.
 
Because he had a kick ass friend named Doc Holiday.

dh5.gif
 
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the important events of these peoples lives, the events that made them legends, are actually pretty decently documented. while myths have sprung from the true events there are enough facts available to have a good idea of the truth and to show they werent merely drunk rabble rousers who stumbled into infamy.
 
Because Tombstone is awesome.
 
They were in the right place at the right time.
 

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