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Vol. 1 - No. 4 July, 2019 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
 
Chronicle of the Old West
Dakota Livesay | Old West Historian
A retired Old West lawman recalled that, "Nice guys just didn't make it as lawmen on the frontier." Today's story is about one such "nice guy" lawman, and what happened to him.

Continued.... (see below)
Ed Masterson
Edward Masterson, the oldest of seven children, was closest to his brother William, who was one year younger that he. At twenty years of age, he and brother William left home to hunt buffalo.

In 1877 his brother, William Masterson, now going by the nickname “Bat” was elected sheriff of Dodge City. In many ways, Bat was the prototypical frontier lawman. He was tough, but fair. Ed was appointed deputy marshal. Bat was concerned that Ed was just not cut out to be a lawman. Ed was gentle and easy-going. He liked everyone, and everyone liked him. “Affable” is a word that comes to mind.

But, Ed wasn’t reluctant to do his duty. Within a couple of months of each other Ed engaged in two shootouts. In the second he not only shot a cowboy twice, Ed was shot in the arm.

Ed’s last shootout took place on April 9, 1878. Some cowboys were carrying on at the Lady Gay Saloon. Ed Masterson went there and found that Jack Wagner was carrying a gun against city ordinance. Ed took it away, and gave it to Jack’s boss, A. M. Walker. Ed then left the saloon. As soon as he left, Wagner’s boss gave Jack back the pistol, and they followed Ed out to the street. As Wagner walked up to Ed, Ed grabbed Wagner’s pistol. The gun fired, hitting Ed in the gut. The blast of the muzzle set Ed’s clothes on fire. Ed then pulled his pistol and fired four shots, one hit Wagner, and the other three ripped into Walker.

Ed Masterson calmly walked another two hundred yards, and then fell to the ground. A half hour later, he was dead.
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