When Law Was in the Holster: The Frontier Life of Bob Paul

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Overview


One of the great lawmen of the Old West, Bob Paul (1830–1901) cast a giant shadow across the frontiers of California and Arizona Territory for nearly fifty years. Today he is remembered mainly for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in the stirring events surrounding the famous 1881 gunfight near the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. This long-overdue biography fills crucial gaps in Paul’s story and recounts a life of almost constant adventure.

As told by veteran ...

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When Law Was in the Holster: The Frontier Life of Bob Paul

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Overview


One of the great lawmen of the Old West, Bob Paul (1830–1901) cast a giant shadow across the frontiers of California and Arizona Territory for nearly fifty years. Today he is remembered mainly for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in the stirring events surrounding the famous 1881 gunfight near the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. This long-overdue biography fills crucial gaps in Paul’s story and recounts a life of almost constant adventure.

As told by veteran western historian John Boessenecker, this story is more than just a western shoot-’em-up, and it reveals Paul to be far more than a blood-and-thunder gunfighter. Beginning with Paul’s boyhood adventures as a whaler in the South Pacific, the author traces his journey to Gold Rush California, where he served respectively as constable, deputy sheriff, and sheriff in Calaveras County, and as Wells Fargo shotgun messenger and detective. Then, in the turbulent 1880s, Paul became sheriff of Pima County, Arizona, and a railroad detective for the Southern Pacific. In 1890 President Benjamin Harrison appointed him U.S. marshal of Arizona Territory.

Transcending local history, Paul’s story provides an inside look into the rough-and-tumble world of frontier politics, electoral corruption, Mexican-U.S. relations, border security, vigilantism, and western justice. Moreover, issues that were important in Paul’s career—illegal immigration, smuggling on the Mexican border, youth gangs, racial discrimination, ethnic violence, and police-minority relations—are as relevant today as they were during his lifetime.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

When Law Was in the Holster is the first comprehensive biography of one of the Old West's most important lawmen, Bob Paul. Shipping before the mast at the age of twelve, Paul spent the rest of his life careening from one grand adventure to another—on the high seas, in the California gold rush, and in Arizona Territory.  Boessenecker tells the tale with thorough documentation—and with relish.”—Roger D. McGrath, author of Gunfighters, Highwaymen, and Vigilantes: Violence on the Frontier
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806142852
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 10/8/2012
  • Pages: 504
  • Sales rank: 704,602
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

A San Francisco attorney, John Boessenecker has authored six books and numerous magazine articles on crime and law enforcement in the Old West.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Preface and Acknowledgments xv

1 Whaleboat and Gold Pan 3

2 Gold Rush Lawman 31

3 The Tom Bell Gang 52

4 Sheriff of Calaveras 67

5 Shotgun Messenger 91

6 Wells Fargo Detective 112

7 Paul v. Shibell 130

8 Death Rides the Tombstone Stage 158

9 Wyatt Earp 177

10 Apaches and Gunfighters 203

11 Jailbreakers 216

12 When Law Was in the Holster 238

13 The Executioner 257

14 Another Election Battle 278

15 "I Am Sheriff of Pima County" 307

16 Politics and Perjury 326

17 Manhunt in Old Mexico 341

18 U.S. Marshal 363

19 The Last Trail 390

Notes 411

Bibliography 457

Index 473

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    John Boessenecker's biography of Bob Paul is an excellent accoun

    John Boessenecker's biography of Bob Paul is an excellent account of a well known California and Arizona lawman about which little has been written. The book covers Paul's life from when he arrived in San Francisco on a whaler through his career as a sheriff in both the California Motherlode and Arizona.

    His cooperation with the Mexican government on cases is a good example of what can be accomplished when the US and Mexico work together to apprehend common enemies.

    I highly recommend this book as an excellent account of an outstanding lawman of early California and Arizona.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    I absoloutely LOVED this book!!

    Great writing about a great subject!! I highly recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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