Saturday, August 22, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw, writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author

I've been writing 'lessons' lately. One was acting lessons for writers: Acting Lessons for Writers, and Early Colorado History Lesson Plan- Early Colorado. this time I thought a review of some of the lawmen of Colorado back in the day might be fun. 

In the southern part of the state, Trinidad to be exact, Bat Masterson was City Marshall. He held the post for less than a year before being voted out of office. Although Masterson held various peace officer jobs, he died at his desk at the Morning Telegraph newspaper in New York where he was writing his column for the day. For those who would like to read more: 

"Bat Masterson: The Man and the Legend"  by  Robert K. DeArment 

"Famous Gunfighters of the Western Frontier: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Luke Short and Others" by W. B. (Bat) Masterson (Author)

Bat Masterson - Wikipedia
Photo from Wikipedia

In El Paso County, Colorado, Rankin Scott Kelly, was the first sheriff in 1861. His past is shadowed, but it is known he believed he killed his sister's fiance and ran away at thirteen. Those who have researched his story believe he ranks up there with the rest of the 'hero' lawmen of the era. He also lived to old age. For more on Kelly:

Rankin Scott Kelly, First Sheriff of El... - Territorial Daughters of  Colorado | Facebook
R. S. Kelly

Pat Desmond was the marshal of South Pueblo, Colorado sometime after 1873. The people of the area credited him with apprehending more criminals than his peers in the area. In addition to being marshal, Desmond was also a deputy sheriff and was with the Rocky Mountain Detective Association. After Desmond left Pueblo and moved to Ogden, Utah he was shot and died in 1890. Desmond was known to imbibe liberally and have a terrific temper. For more on Desmond:

"Deadly Dozen: Twelve Forgotten Gunfighters of the Old West, Vol. 1" by Robert K. DeArment 

These are just a few of the men who made the West safe. Their stories are inspiring, fun, and full of unexpected twists and turns.

In my first novel "Josie's Dream", the hero, William Murphy is also a lawman tracking a criminal and runs into Josie in the town of Kiowa Wells, Colorado. Below is an excerpt from their first meeting.

From the light from the window Josie thought she recognized the girl as a moan escaped clenched lips when Josie touched the girl's right shoulder. Before Josie could do anything about the man in the alley, the arms that had been supporting her dropped as the man rushed past, heading into the alley. “You don’t treat women that way,” she heard, followed by the sound of blows followed by grunts and howls.

“It sounds like you may have a damaged shoulder,” Josie told the girl, continuing to support the girl. All the while listening to the sounds coming from the alley.

“Yeah, it hurts a bit.” the girl finally answered.

“Would you like…” Josie started to offer, only to be cut off with an “I don’t have no money and pa says we can’t accept charity.”

Josie knew the girls are needed treatment, but as a new resident she felt she’d better tread carefully.

Before Josie could respond, the two combatants came out of the alley. One was being escorted by the other, all fight seemed to have left the loser.

“Well at least you could come back into the hotel with me. I’m new here and would enjoy the company.” Josie offered, heading toward the door with the young girl beside her.

Mason came to the door and seeing the two men exclaimed, “That’s the man who paid us to put the snake in your room.”

“Which one?” Josie asked, looking at the two more carefully.

“The one being held.” Mason replied, pointing at the man who Josie now saw had a bloody nose.

“So you’re Jack?” Josie asked. “Do you always”

She was interrupted by the other man turning Jack toward him, finger under his nose. “What is this I hear about snakes?”

“None of your...”

“None of my what?”

“You have no right to interfere whoever you are,” Jack said.

“The name's Will Murphy, and anytime a low life like you mistreats a woman, I’ll interfere.” Will replied, a controlled anger in his voice. “And no one should terrorize anyone else.”

Josie looked at Will, a feeling of safety coming over her. It surprised and pleased her, then she caught hold of herself. “And whose idea was it about the snake?” she asked. “And why use two boys? Were you afraid you’d get caught?”

Jack glared, closing his mouth, shaking his head.

The lady asked you a question.” Will said. “I suggest you answer her.”

Josie's Dream (Grandma's Wedding Quilts Book 9)
Purchase on Amazon

Doris Gardner-McCraw -

Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet


  1. I love reading about the law and the outlaws of the Old West. Thanks for the links for further reading on these characters. We just watched an old movie about Billy the Kid in that stage before Pat Garrett shot him. I had to go look up some names because in the movie, they named a lot of real people. I know how Hollywood can embroider the facts, but it seemed to follow the history quite well. I always enjoy your informative posts, Doris.

    1. Like you, Elizabeth, I find the truth is sometimes even better than the fiction. Movies especially have a hard time with just the facts and want to embelish, but I find digging the nuggets of the stories more rewarding. Not that I don't love a good Western movie or televison show.
      Thank you for stopping by and your kind words.

  2. I enjoyed your post. One documentary we enjoyed was one about Wyatt Earp. I was surprised he went to Hollywood and that a young John Wayne met him. Supposedly, John Wayne used Wyatt Earp as the model for his screen persona. That period in history is so fascinating and I appreciate your well-researched posts.

    1. Caroline, I thank you. I confess to a passion about history, Colorado and lawmen and criminals. (I spent twenty years working with juvenile delinquents. LOL). I also have a passion for sharing what I find in my research so that others may have the opportunity to maybe use or be inspired by the lives of these amazing people. Doris


Thank you for visiting Sweethearts of the West! We are very sad to require comment moderation now due to the actions of a few spam comments. Thank you for your patience.