From Guns to Gavels: How Justice Grew Up in the Outlaw West

Written by Bill Neal
Review by John R. Vallely

Lost in the Western frontier tales of steely-eyed gunfighters, crafty cattle thieves, and daring bank robbers is the slow but steady evolution of the American West from a lawless region to a land of law and order. Bill Neal is well versed in this forgotten and largely ignored chapter of the “Wild West” both through his years as a criminal lawyer and as an award-winning historian. He focuses on West Texas from the 1890s to the 1920s and introduces a number of truly remarkable characters and equally exciting historical events. Readers will be captivated by the savage Tom Ross, the desperate John Matthews-Bill McDonald feud, and numerous other stories from the Texas of both legend and fact. Any historical fiction writer seeking food for thought for frontier tales need search no longer.