Gunslingers in Texas
State Historian of Texas, Bill O’Neal, is an author, historian, and Texas scholar. In 1970, he became a full-time faculty member at Panola College, a position that he held for thirty-three years. O’Neal has written 42 books on a variety of historical topics, as well as 300 articles and book reviews. True West Magazine named Bill the “Best Living Non-Fiction Writer” in 2007, and in 2012 the Wild West History Association presented him its Lifetime Achievement Award. In August 2012 he was sworn in as State Historian of Texas by Governor Rick Perry. He presents his talk on the history of Gunfighters in Texas. Bill O’Neal provides a fascinating summary of the data and offers new insights into the nature of the western gunmen and of the feuds and fights that bloodied the West. For example, he relates how a large number of the gunfighters used guns as tools of their trades, legitimate and otherwise—lawmen and detectives, buffalo hunters, army scouts, thieves, hired killers, and the like. Of the gunfighters included here 108 served as law officers at some time in their careers. The average lifespan, including those who died of natural causes, was forty-seven years, and more than 50 percent of the gunmen died from gunshot wounds.