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Almanac: Bat Masterson

Almanac: Bat Masterson
Almanac: Bat Masterson 01:58

And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: November 26, 1853, 164 years ago today … a dandy day for Wild West folklore.

WRIGHT(1913) Bat Masterson (14783196015)
Bat Masterson, the Wild West scout, gunslinger and gambler known for his dapper appearance, as photographed in 1913.  Alamy Stock Photo

For that date saw the birth, in Canada, of Bartholemew Masterson -- "Bat" Masterson for short.

As a young man he sought his fortune as a buffalo hunter and scout on America's Western frontier.

Handy with a gun, Masterson occasionally served as a frontier sheriff and marshal as well, and was a friend of the legendary Wyatt Earp.

He was also known as a dapper dresser and suave gambler, a dandyish reputation that, in 1958, inspired the "Bat Masterson" TV series starring Gene Barry.

As for the REAL Bat Masterson, he went on to a second life in turn-of-the-century New York City. He won a following as a newspaper reporter and sports writer.

And, in an echo of his lawman days, President Theodore Roosevelt no less appointed Masterson Deputy U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of New York in 1905.

Bat Masterson died, at his newspaper desk, of a heart attack in 1921 at the age of 67. But his legend as the dandy lawman of the Wild, Wild West lives on. 

'Dodge City Peace Commissioners' were a gang of gunfighters, lawmen, and saloon owners who fought to keep Dodge City corrupt and under their control. (L to R): Charles Bassett, W. H. Harris, Wyatt Earp, Luke Short, L. McLean, Bat Masterson, Neal Brown. Ca
Members of the "Dodge City Peace Commission" pose for a photograph in 1883, after a "war" among saloon owners, politicians and lawmen fighting for control in the Kansas frontier town was peaceably settled. From left: Charles Bassett, W. H. Harris, Wyatt Earp, Luke Short, L. McLean, Bat Masterson, and Neal Brown. Everett Collection Inc / Alamy S
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