Life in the Old West

True stories, tall tales, memorabilia of the American West

Old West Outlaws

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Outlaws and gunfighters are often thought of as the villains or bad guys of the Old West.

But that popular understanding of outlaws and gunfighters is based more on Western tall tales, old-fashioned “dime novels” and other fictional sources that have been romanticized over the decades. In reality many outlaws and gunfighters, depending on the time and the place, sometimes became the good guys — even serving as lawmen. The classic examples would be Wyatt Earp and his brothers and Wild Bill Hickok. Depending on the sources you read and the events you read about, the Earps and Hickok were painted as colorful heroes or evil villains. (In point of fact, they all served as sworn, paid lawmen on several occasions.) Use the article links below to explore our ever-expanding library of tales in the “Old West Outlaws” category. (You’ll also find some links in those articles to books, collectibles and memorabilia about famous Westerners for sale on eBay and at