The Wild West has made legends out of many men, but it has forged a lasting legacy for some of the frontier towns that hosted famous Western icons as well, and aside from Tombstone and Deadwood, no frontier town is better known than Dodge City, Kansas. In the immediate wake of the Civil War, a settlement originally developed around Fort Dodge, which had been built to protect against Indian attacks, and it became a favorite spot for the buffalo hunters on the Plains who were engaged in exterminating the bison to harm the Native American tribes.
By 1876, however, Dodge City had become a popular destination spot for cattle drives starting from as far south as Texas. With that, the town also came to symbolize everything about the Old West. Dodge City brought together cowboys, lawmen, saloons, gambling, brothels, and everything in between, creating an environment that was always colorful and occasionally fatal. Since Dodge City was on the frontier, it took awhile for the law to catch up to it; even as late as September 1876, a local paper noted, "The citizens of Dodge have organized a vigilance committee and last week the committee addressed the following pointed note to every gambler in the city: 'Sir: You are hereby notified to leave this city before 6 o'clock, a. m. of Sept. 17th, 1876, and not return here.'"
Lawmen finally became a fixture of Dodge City in the late 1870s, but as with so many other places in the West, the line between hero and villain was blurred. Dodge City's lawmen included some of the most famous men of the Wild West, including Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp.
Given the way the frontier town developed, as well as the people who called it home, Dodge City was certain to hold a special place in Western lore. Legends of the West: Dodge City, Kansas comprehensively covers the history of the city, profiles the people who called it home, and highlights the attractions and events that made it famous.
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