Two of the best-known lawmen of the Old West will be the focus of a program at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. CDT.
Bill Markley of Pierre will discuss some of the reasons Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson have stood out from other lawmen. He is the author of “Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson: Lawmen of the Legendary West.”
“Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson are probably the best-known lawmen from the American West. At times their actions were not in compliance with the law, and they only served as peace officers for a small time in their lives. Markley will cover some of the reasons they are remembered in his presentation,” said Catherine Forsch, president of the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation.
The foundation is the nonprofit fundraising partner of the South Dakota State Historical Society and sponsors Markley’s program as part of its History and Heritage Book Club.
Everyone is welcome to attend the free program.
Earp (1848-1929) was a saloonkeeper, gambler, gunslinger, and lawman. He is perhaps best known for his involvement in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Masterson (1853-1921) was a U.S. Army scout, lawman, professional gambler, and journalist. The two men met in Kansas in the early 1870s and remained friends for the rest of their lives. Markley’s book compares the lives of the two men, explaining in many of the chapters what each man was doing during a particular time period. Markley debates the question, “Who was the greatest lawman?” in the book’s final chapter.
History has always fascinated Markley, leading to his participation in the movie “Dances with Wolves” and other films. He has written the novel “Deadwood Dead Men” as well as nonfiction books and magazine articles about the American West.
“Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson: Lawmen of the Legendary West,” is Markley’s first in a series of books comparing the lives of Old West personalities. The second in the series is “Billy the Kid and Jesse James: Outlaws of the Legendary West.” Markley is currently working on a book about Geronimo and Sitting Bull, to be followed by a book about Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody.
Copies of “Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson” are sold at the Heritage Stores at the Cultural Heritage Center and the Capitol, online at www.sdhsf.org or by calling 605-773-6346.
People can learn how to join the program at locations other than the Cultural Heritage Center by calling 605-773-6006.
About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing, and administrative/development offices. Call 605-773-3458 or visit www.history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.
About the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation
The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation is a private charitable nonprofit that seeks funding to assist the South Dakota State Historical Society in programming and projects to preserve South Dakota’s history and heritage for future generations.