From the Examiner:
My grandfather was a hired gun for a rail road which has long since gone out of business. After returning from World War I, he found employment with the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1920′s.
Hired gun is an accurate description of law enforcement in those days. Most people “learn” their history from movies and television. Hollywood’s historical timeline seems to end with Westerns depicting the era of the great cattle drives of the later 1800s and pick up again with depression era gangster movies and the ubiquitous obligatory Irish cop.
Combine all that with most Hollywood writers being from New York and in the business to entertain and not inform and we have a very uninformed populace.
Contrary to the myth of the Wild West, which was never very wild, there were more gunfights in the twenty year run of the old television series “Gun Smoke” than there were in all of the Western states combined for the period depicted.