Which lawman did the most to tame the frontier, Bat Masterson or Wyatt Earp? Neither of them was a saint. At times their actions were not in compliance with the law, and they only served as peace officers for limited portions of their lives. What sets them apart from the thousands of sheriffs and marshals who served on America’s frontier? Did they make more arrests than others? Did they kill large numbers of men? Did they lead adventurous lives? Was it their character? Was there just the right ring to their names that led people to remember them? Did they get the right publicity at the right time? Did they just outlive all the others? Or was it a combination of these factors? This joint biography reveals the intersection of their legacies and attempts to answer the questions about their place in the story of the West.
History has fascinated Bill Markley since childhood on the family farm near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Moving to Pierre, South Dakota, in 1976, to work for South Dakota’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, he immersed himself in local history leading to participating in films such as Dances With Wolves. Bill has written a novel Deadwood Dead Men, three Western nonfiction books, and for True West and Wild West magazines. Bill is WWA’s Membership Chairman, writes Roundup’s Techno-Savvy Column, and served on the Board of Directors. In 2015 Bill was sworn in as an honorary Dodge City Marshal. Bill and his wife Liz live in Pierre where they have raised two grown children.