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Wild West Western Facts

Gunfighters


Other names for gunfighter included gunslinger, gunman, shootist, pistoleer. 

Some believe the term "gunslinger" to be a more modern term.  We do know that Bat Masterson used the term "gunfighter" in the newspaper articles he wrote about the lawmen and outlaws he had known.

The names were given to men in the American Old West who had gained a reputation as being dangerous with a gun.  Often "gunfighter" was applied to men who would hire out for contract killings.   But, a gunfighter could either be an outlaw or a lawman depending on the chore at hand. 

Outlaws most often engaged in murder or robbery, while a sheriff or lone avenger faced or tracked down the outlaw and brought him to justice, either legally or by execution.

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