For 70 years, Western law and order history has been popularized by True West’s editors.

From Joe Small’s first issue in the summer of 1953 to the present issue, the history of the U.S. Marshals Service in the Western United States has been prominently featured in True West. 

In December 1958, Pat Garrett was the first deputy U.S. marshal to be on the cover of True West. Garrett was also the second marshal to be on the front of TW, unless you count the deputized Doc Holliday on the cover of the February 1960 issue.

The history of federal law enforcement in the Indian Territory and Oklahoma was also a well-covered topic in the pages of TW during its first five decades, but it was not until March 1998 that the Sooner State was on the cover. Western oil has also been a TW cover topic three times, first in November 1988. 

Since 2000, the U.S. Marshals Service—and Wild Bill Hickok—have received their greatest coverage in TW. Deputy U.S. Marshal James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok had his TW cover debut in March 1996, but since 2001 the famed shootist has graced the front of the magazine five times.

The future looks good for more law and order history in TW. As more and more historians dig deeper into the archives on law enforcement in the West—as illustrated by the two main features in this issue on the U.S. Marshals Service and the birth of the FBI in Oklahoma in the 1920s—it seems the violent and often controversial history of law and order in the Western United States will continue to be a primary topic investigated and written about in True West for many years to come.

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