Old West


To get a better idea of how to approach the paper read the story about the problems in Dodge City and answer the following

questions. Each question should be answered in one sentence. You can earn up to five additional points for completing this

assignment satisfactorily.

1. What was the problem that Dodge City was experiencing?
2. How can you support the idea that the problem was real?
3. What “policy” was implemented to alleviate the problem?
4. Was the solution effective?
5. How do you know?
6. Were there any new problems which arose which may be attributable to the policy?
7. What additional policy(s) can you suggest to solve this new problem?
8. There is an image hidden at the beginning of the first paragraph (the same one can be found in the seventh paragraph) of the

fact situation. What is it? Identify it and receive one extra point.

Policy Analysis in the Old West

As Marshall Hatter walked back to his office after investigating a shooting at The Swinging Door Saloon, the local drinking

emporium, he realized that it was the third shooting that week; and it was only Tuesday. Crime had really exploded in Dodge City!

He decided to review the ledger he kept of the crimes committed in the city and get a better idea of the problem and how serious it


Just as he sat down to read the ledger his deputy Newley walked in escorting the suspect, Dead-Eye Dan, a local with a bad

reputation and an even worse temper. He told his Deputy to lock-up the prisoner and sit down for a minute before they heard Dead-


Eye’s version of the incident. From what the Marshall had learned from Sam the bartender, Dead-Eye got into an argument over a

poker game with another local Rancher Bob. There was a history of bad blood between the two of them. When Rancher Bob accused

Dead-Eye of dealing from the bottom of the deck, a practice which was Dead-Eye’s trademark, Dead-Eye drew his Six-Gun and before

anyone had a chance to stop him, Rancher Bob was lying on the floor of the Saloon dead.

After relaying this information to Newly, the Marshall instructed him to talk with Dead-Eye and get his side of the story and went

back to reviewing his crime records. What they revealed was terrible. In the last six months, there had been 31 shootings in the

Saloon, 19 of them were fatal. This was an increase of over 65% over the previous six-month period.

The Marshall then returned the records in the safe, said goodbye to Newly, and ambled over to the Saloon to talk to Sam. They

discussed the fact that there were too many shootings in the saloon as of late. Sam said that he thought part of the problem was

that the patrons reached for their guns before even attempting to talk the problem out. He believed that the behavior was caused,

in part, by the closing of the silver mine. People were a little edgy because many of them had lost their jobs and didn’t know what

to do. Sam told the Marshall that he was willing to try anything the Marshall suggested to reduce the violence. Dodge City was

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growing up and Sam wanted to be part of that prosperity. If the saloon got a bad reputation the better folks in town would stop

patronizing his place.

The Marshall went home for the night and thought about what he and Sam talked about. He went to the City Hall the next morning and

set up a meeting with City Council and the Mayor to discuss an idea he developed to deal with the problem. He asked Sam to join

them since his input and cooperation would be necessary.

At the meeting, Marshall Hatter summarized the problems at the bar and presented his idea. He agreed with Sam that the patrons of

the Saloon were much too quick to go for their guns and perhaps if they weren’t readily available maybe the number of shootings

would be reduced. He suggested that the Saloon patrons would have to check their guns at the door. No one would be allowed to be

armed in The Swinging Door Saloon.

If no one was armed that would provide a little cooling-off time for everyone involved and if a fist fight broke out it would be a

lot easier to deal with than a gunfight. Sam and the Mayor thought that was a good idea and the members of City Council agreed.

Sam was concerned that it might be tough to enforce at first but he wanted to see if the idea would work and reduce the violence.

He asked the Marshall if one of his Deputies could help at the Saloon for a short time. The Marshall agreed, and said he would also

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be there the first night the policy was put into effect.

The Marshall and Deputy Newly posted signs around town and in the Saloon so the patrons would be surprised when asked to check

their guns. Both went to the Saloon the first night to make sure that everyone cooperated.

A few people objected to the new rule and two ranch hands refused to give up their guns. They spent the night in jail. Other than a

couple of fist fights, Billy Joe got into a fight with a miner over Sally, the barmaid and the blacksmith, Smitty accused the Faro

dealer of cheating, the evening passed without incident.

Over the next month there were several fights but only one shooting. A visitor to town refused to give up his gun and started

shooting in the Saloon. He was promptly tackled by Newly and taken to jail. There was one stabbing by an unhappy gambler who

attacked the Faro dealer, but no one was seriously hurt. Being a Faro dealer can be a dangerous job.

Even though the Mayor, Sam, and Marshall Hatton were pleased with the results, the Marshall was concerned that there had been

several incidents when a disagreement would spill out into the streets once the patrons got their guns back. Marshall Hatton, Sam,

and the Mayor were going to City Council to discuss this problem and see what could be done.