From the Preface:On the frontier, says conventional wisdom, a structured society did not exist and social control was largely absent; law enforcement and the criminal justice system had limited, if any, influence; and danger--both from man and from the elements--was ever present. This view of the frontier is projected by motion pictures, television, popular literature, and most scholarly histories. But was the frontier really all that violent? What was the nature of the violence that did occur? Were frontier towns more violent that cities in the East? Has America inherited a violent way of life from the frontier? Was the frontier more violent than the United States is today? This book attempts to answer these questions and others about violence and lawlessness on the frontier and do so in a new way. Whereas most authors have drawn their conclusions about frontier violence from the exploits of a few notorious badmen and outlaws and from some of the more famous incidents and conflicts, I have chosen to focus on two towns that I think were typical of the frontier--the mining frontier specifically--and to investigate all forms of violence and lawlessness that occurred in and around those towns.