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Much of the legend and the lore of the Old West involve gunslingers and gunfights. Most of the people who populated the new American frontier in the 19th century owned guns and used them to hunt and to protect themselves and their families.

Despite the general perception, gunfights didn’t occur on a regular basis. In fact, many communities implemented tough gun control laws. Tombstone, Dodge City, Wichita, and Deadwood banned anyone but law enforcement officials from carrying guns. Citizens and visitors had to check their guns at a central location until they left town.

The focus of When the Smoke Clears falls on more than three-dozen Old West gunfights that attracted the most attention from historians and other chroniclers. The names of most of the gunslingers will no doubt ring familiar. Despite the lack of name recognition for the others, you’ll find they were equally adept when it came to squeezing the triggers of their six-shooters. 

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