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The first item on the Better World Books 2016 Reading Challenge is […]
Gordon M. Bakken
Gordon Morris Bakken
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Laws passed by politicians in far-off Austin meant little to Westerners living on the Texas frontier. Sagebrush justice relied less on written statutes than on common sense, grass-roots fairness, and vague notions of folk law drawn from the Old South's Victorian code of chivalry and honor. In this very different time and place, a murderer might go free based on the following reasoning: "The son-of-a-gun is guilty all right, but we must turn him loose. He owes me for a pair of boots, and if we convict him I'll never get my money."
Inexperienced prosecutors, a lack of modern crime-detection methods, unavailability of witnesses, an acceptance of violence in society, and a laissez-faire attitude toward trial tactics all conspired to make guilty verdicts a rarity. In this first volume of a planned trilogy, Neal presents the evidence that shows how easy some folks found it to evade justice in the frontier West.
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