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The Characters we call Gunfighters The period following the Civil War was a time of great uneasiness It was an era that gave rise to the Western outlaws They were bandits gunfighters and men guilty of hundreds of crimes but they were also important in shaping American folklore Two important factors contributed to the making of these legends The transition that these men under went from solider to ranch hand or cowboy and the making of their legends through the media molded the way we perceive gunfighters today I feel that the media had a major role in creating the characters legends and heros that we learn about in history The Civil War gave many young men a taste of conflict and killing Many that fought the War were a very tender age and very impressionable According to an article written by Mark Sufrin called The Western Gunman he said that the Civil War soldiers were to much in love with killing after years of violence to settle down23 After the Civil War many of the men were hired by ranchers as ranch hands which paid little for their hard work Many of the young cowboys found themselves craving the life they had lived for four years of violence and killing It was these impulses that caused them to run rampant across the west robbing banks and holding up trains As the west was growing so was the need for law and order Town sheriffs and US Marshals took on that role This would pave the way for the so called gunman and gunfighters According to the Encyclopedia Britannica One example of this was a young man named Jesse James who fought in the Civil War when he was fifteen He and his older brother Frank were in the pro-southern guerrillas led by William C Quantrill After the war Jesse formed a highly successful gang They held up banks stagecoaches and trains until
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