HOWDY! Welcome to the campfire! Grab a cup of coffee and make yourself to home. Find a seat on a hollowed out log, a bedroll spread on the ground, or a sexy cowboy’s lap!  😉   I write spicy Western Historical Romances, and I LOVE talking about cowboys and lawmen from the past, when the West was wild in all sorts of delicious ways (or current sexy cowboys and lawmen, I’m not particular).

I’m not published, YET, so I’m sorry I can’t offer a free book, BUT don’t let it be said we’re cheap here on the trail. For one lucky commenter I’m offering a $10 Gift Card from Amazon or B&N, winner’s choice!! And of course, all commenters will have a chance at the Grand Prize…A $100 Gift Card from Amazon or B&N!!!!

BUT that’s not all…Cookie show them what else we have…Oh fine, I’ll do it myself…Since y’all so generously stopped by, I’m giving a preview of my next FREE READ to be featured here starting May 11, 2013!! So keep on reading to the end of the post!  If you’re new to the site, I’ve published two free reads here, “Race to Marry” and “Christmas Stroll” please take a look.

OH and if you’re new Cookie is my sidekick and I don’t keep him around for his biscuits…if ya get my drift.

Okay enough jabberin’ let’s get to the reason y’all stopped by…

What’s fun about writing lawmen in the old west is they were a colorful bunch, and often chosen from a lawless bunch.  A writer can bring these dichotomies into Western romances to create multidimensional heroes.  All but two of my stories take place in Wyoming. It’s where I grew up, where I returned after a brief absence, and the place I love.  Most of Wyoming’s early lawmen were men with less than desirable pasts who were elected because: 

1.) A town wanted a man who would look the other way regarding other nefarious deeds

2.) The best way to catch a thief is to hire a man who knows how they think

3.) These were men were respected or feared enough to keep law and order

One Wyoming lawman had all these characteristics and his life reads like a great plot for a book. This was William Galispie “Red” Angus (Even the name is great! Don’t you love it! Oops, sorry).

Born in 1849, William Angus grew up in Kansas when the territory was in the throes of a nasty guerrilla war over slavery. This warfare took its toll on young Angus.  In 1862, when he was only 12 years old, he demanded that he be allowed to enlist in the Union army. He joined as a drummer boy.  When discharged in 1865, at the ripe old age of 15, he’d witnessed some of the worst fighting of the Civil War, but instead of quelling his desire for danger he embraced it. Angus found work as a freighter in western Kansas, when such employment was considered highly dangerous.  The Cheyenne, Arapahoe and Lakota Sioux were active in the area, and Angus was in Fort Wallace in 1867 during its siege.

Surviving these hostilities, Angus joined the 19th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry and participated in a campaign against the Cheyenne. He was discharged in 1869, and though you’d think he’d had his quota of excitement he refused to seek a quiet life. He resumed freighting between Kansas and Oklahoma, and then worked for three years in Texas as a cowboy before spending a year as a teamster in Guatemala.  He made his way back to the United States through California where he again found work as a cowboy and finally made his way to Wyoming driving a herd in 1880.  He first came to Prairie Dog Creek in northern Johnson County, but relocated to Buffalo in 1881.

Not shockingly, Red Angus had red hair and though normally easygoing he possessed a fierce temper when riled. He was also known as a man whose courage was without question.  In Buffalo, he became part of the Laurel Avenue and saloon crowd. Laurel Avenue being the area of Buffalo that catered to the baser needs of men.  Angus became known as the “Mayor of Laurel Avenue,” and his first wife had been a prostitute in one of the brothels. He was no stranger to run-ins with the law. Territory v. Angus was the first criminal case filed in Johnson County. Angus was charged with assault for pistol-whipping a man. Tried and convicted in 1882, he paid of a fine of $80 with $5 charge for court costs.

Nearby Fort McKinney was a primary economic force in Johnson County, but cattle raising was the butter on the bread supporting a great number of cowboys and a few rich men. Big cattle companies dominated the southern half of the county, while smaller family outfits filled the northern half.  Big cattle outfits in southern Johnson County, whether or not they held title, occupied and monopolized huge chunks of land, more than they could ever legally claim. They asserted rights under fictitious legal theories like “range rights” and “accustomed ranges.”

So what does that have to do with Red Angus?

By 1884, Red took an interest in becoming a lawman and started working toward that goal. He built a new saloon and became a bar man. He served on the town council and was elected chief of the fire department earning the respect of the citizens of Buffalo.

Trouble was brewing at the same time Red Angus was preparing to run for sheriff.  The year 1888 saw huge divisions in Johnson County. Officials from the northern portion petitioned the Territorial Government to become its own county, Sheridan County, and won. Also, after a series of disastrous winters the cattle barons and small ranchers were scrapping for any grazing lands.

It was during this heated time, Red Angus, likable bar owner closely associated with Buffalo brothels ran against Frank Canton, model of an efficient sheriff. But the respect Angus had been earning swayed voters in Red’s favor. And in the community of Buffalo, owning a bar and having “unsavory associations” at brothels wasn’t always a bad thing.  In the general election, Angus won 509 to 379. Angus’ election was contentious because it was well known he supported the small cattle ranchers, those the cattle barons accused of being rustlers. 

By 1891 and 1892, this small Wyoming County was described by national papers as “a raw and brutal haven for range pirates,” and “the most lawless town in the country.” A county “under the control of criminals so maliciously confident that they had begun naming big cattlemen to be put to death.”   Charges and countercharges were flung from one camp to the other.  It wasn’t long before the battle of words turned to a series of lynchings and other hostilities perpetrated by the large cattle barons against the small rancher.

I won’t get into the whole of the Johnson County War, as I blogged on that in  After a series of murders and raids, in the spring of 1892, “regulators” under the leadership of men from the Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association took a train from Cheyenne to Casper where they unloaded and rode into Johnson County. The invaders attacked a small ranch and killed two “rustlers” Nate Champion and Nick Ray.  They then took refuge at a friendly ranch, the TA Ranch.

Angus’ legendary temper and courage surfaced with a vengeance and he rounded up a posse of 48 men that soon grew to an army of anywhere between 200 to 300 men, and surrounded the TA ranch. Many riding, and duly deputized by Sheriff Angus, were cowboys who had worked for the very men they were riding against. The invaders held off Angus’ army by using the natural defenses of the ranch along with well-placed ranch buildings.

Soldiers from Fort McKinney saved the invaders, but Angus issued arrest orders for the “regulators.” His warrants were denied as the soldiers had been called in as a favor to Governor Amos Barber (a supporter of the big cattle barons), who knew the men would be executed if turned over to Red Angus.  Angus secured an agreement that the invaders would be turned over to Civil Authority for trial, and the prisoners were sent to Fort McKinney. Authorities fearing the wrath of the local citizenry transferred the prisoners to Fort D. A. Russell for safe keeping. Their fears may have been justified, a few days after their arrest the barracks at McKinney were bombed by three cowboys.

The Court held that the regulators wouldn’t receive a fair trial in Buffalo and transferred venue to Laramie County. The people of Johnson County had no recourse, as the County simply couldn’t afford the cost of prosecution. In Laramie County, the invaders faced a sympathetic court and were set free.

Sheriff Angus was defeated for reelection and took a job tending bar at the Occidental Hotel, in Buffalo. Later, however, he served as deputy clerk and county treasurer. In 1893, he engaged in a shootout with Arapahoe Brown in the street in front of the hotel. Neither was a very good shot. Doctor Will Frackleton, a circuit riding dentist was in town and witnessed the fight from the doorway of the hotel. Bullets flew into the barroom while the customers ducked for cover. When the fight was over, Frackleton told Angus and Arapahoe, “Well I don’t see what in hell you carry those things for. You fellows can’t hit anything with them.”  The tension dissolved and the men joined the dentist for drink at the bar.

William “Red” Angus remained in Buffalo where he passed away in 1921.


Davis, John W.  Wyoming Range War: The Infamous Invasion of Johnson County. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2010.


“Hell’s fire and sweet damn! Not her…not today.” Sheriff Russ Avery dropped the shade and stepped back from the window.  One week, one damn week on the job and he’d suffered through at least thirty visits from the widow Ellie Reed.  Next time a lawman offered the choice between swinging from a rope, or taking over as sheriff Russ was gonna choose hangin’…hands down. Hell, he’d even take his own horse and rope and find the cotton wood suitable to get the job done.

A small shadow crossed over the shade and Jake almost tripped over his own boots getting to his desk and falling into his chair. Holding his breath he started thumbing through handbills. If he wasn’t breathing and looked busy maybe she’d just keep going.

“Please Lord have mercy on a miserable sinner.”

“Sheriff Avery, I have a matter I wish to discuss with you.” The widow blew in like a dust storm on the prairie flipping up the shade as she passed by the window.

Jake shielded his eyes against the flood of light as the woman settled into the chair on the opposite side of his desk.  By the bright eager look in her brown eyes and flush on her cheeks, Jake’s gut squeezed.  This was the day he was going to pay for past sins.

Copyright @ 2013, by Kirsten Lynn (This is an original work of Kirsten Lynn any attempt to reprint part or all of this work is strictly prohibited)

Thank y’all for stopping by the campfire and hope to see ya back real soon!  Don’t forget to go back to and continuing hopping to all the other ace high sites!  And if you’re looking for more cowboy charm join the group on Facebook!/groups/453991144693516/

But before ya go make sure to leave a comment and INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL addy, so you can be entered for a $10 Amazon or B & N Gift Certificate from me, so you can buy a hot Western Romance for your Summer, or a $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Certificate from the hop!!!

Thanks again for stopping by!!!


    • Teresa, So glad you came by the campfire and enjoyed both Red Angus’ story and the excerpt!! Hope you’ll stop by again and see what happens between the widow and the lawman!


  1. Hi Kirsten. Very interesting analysis of lawmen. From the stories I’ve uncovered about places like Dodge City and Hell’s Half Acre in Fort Worth, you’re exactly right. On any given day, the lawmen could become the lawless. I love the snippet of “The Widow’s Lawman” and can’t wait to read more. (I don’t need to go in drawing, just stopped by to say howdy!)

    • Howdy, Gem! **waving** Thanks so much for coming over and showing some love round the campfire! The majority of lawmen in Wyoming had a past that rivaled those of the men, and women, they were chasing. It makes for a great story and interesting history. Glad you enjoyed the snippet…poor Sheriff Avery. 🙂


  2. Thanks for the interesting history, Kirsten. Red Angus was like a lot of our U.S. historical characters who intended good and did good, but still had their flaws (as do we all). Saw something on Nat’l Geo. TV channel this afternoon about the “real” George Washington, flaws and all. He’s made the history books and did a lot of good, but was not real popular with some folks “back in the day.” And so it goes! Glad to have met you today, Kirsten!

    • I’m happy to meet you, too, Janice! Thanks for stopping by the campfire! Until recently historians tended to “shield” some historical figures from their flaws, but I think we’ve come to the place where Americans want to know the true history warts and all and I for one find it a much more interesting history. As you said, Red was like a lot of men of his time (although I’d argue he was among those few who sought a almost ridiculous amount of adventure) but in the end he was just a man trying to live and survive in the American West.

      Thanks again for stopping by! Hope you’ll come back soon!


    • Angela, So glad you stopped by the campfire! Glad you found the story of Red Angus interesting. He was quite a character. Thanks for the good wishes, and hopefully you’ll be reading my books sooner than later. 🙂


    • Howdy, Tamara! Glad you enjoyed the post! Enjoy the rest of the hop and hope to see you again round the campfire!


    • Thank you, bn100 for stopping by the campfire! Glad you enjoyed the preview and hope you enjoy the rest of the hop!


    • Howdy, Jean!! I’m thrilled you enjoyed Red Angus’ story and the preview of the Widow’s Lawman! Hope to see ya round the campfire soon! Enjoy the rest of the hop!


    • Karen, so glad to see you round the campfire! Yeah, it didn’t take much for a lawman to turn lawless or the lawless to pin on a badge. Gotta love the West!

      Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a great hop!


  3. I write modern westerns, but some of the same things apply! Good post!

    horses5 AT frontier DOT net

    • Thanks, D’Ann! Glad you could stop by the campfire. Yep, the cowboys and lawmen of the West haven’t changed too much. That’s what makes them so fun to write about no matter if it’s an historical or contemporary. 🙂 Hope to see you back again soon! Have a great hop!


    • Thanks so much, Rita! Glad you enjoyed Red Angus’ story! Hope to see you round the campfire again, and enjoy the rest of the hop!


    • Thanks so much, Sherry! The great team at Web Crafters did exactly what I asked them too and then some. 🙂 I’m thrilled you enjoyed Red Angus’ story and the preview to my own short story to be featured here. Hope to see ya round the campfire again, and enjoy the rest of the hop!


  4. I enjoyed learning about Red Angus. I was a history major in college and I really wished we had paid more attention to the history of America. Seems like ours was a lot more colorful. Neither here nor there. I love a lawman, western, city or state.


    • Howdy, Cindy! Glad you enjoyed the post! America’s history is so diverse, and for such a relatively new country we’ve packed a lot of living into our history! 🙂

      Hope you’ll come by the campfire again!


  5. Absolutely great post. If I have my choice of a the lap of a cowboy or a hallowed out log, I’m sitting with the cowboy everytime.

    ~~Emmly Jane
    ej (at) emmly jane (dot) com

    • Well feel free to pick a lap and plant yourself on it, Emmly Jane! We’re all about makin’ the guest happy here round the campfire. 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by, and I’m just tickled that you enjoyed the post! I had fun researching Red Angus and I always have a blast letting the characters in my mind come out to play. Hope to see you back round the campfire real soon…We’ll keep a lap warm for ya. 🙂 Enjoy the rest of the hop!


  6. Great post! I find the history so fascinating! Thank for sharing and being apart of this awesome hop!

    • Thank you, Shadow, for stopping by the campfire! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the story of Red Angus! I hope you’ll stop by again, and enjoy the rest of the hop!


    • Thanks, Beverly!! I’m so thrilled you liked the preview for The Widow’s Lawman!! Poor Sheriff Avery, he’s in deep for sure. 😉


  7. Love your website. i’ve added it to my book for more visits after the blog hop. They are great to introduce me to new authors to read.

    • Howdy, Jackie! Thanks so much for stopping by the campfire, and that ya plan to come back is music to my ears! Enjoy the rest of the hop!


    • Howdy, Joye! So glad you stopped by the campfire, and plan to come back!! YEEE-HAW! Enjoy the rest of the hop!


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