Ask the Marshall
- Written by Marshall Trimble
- Published March 30, 2010
What is the consensus as to the time frame of the Old West?
Sturgis, South Dakota
The term “Old West” is in the eyes of the beholder. It is generally defined as the period from the end of the Civil War in 1865 to circa 1900.
Others viewed the term differently. Historian Frederick Jackson Turner presented his famous thesis in 1893 declaring the closing of the frontier. For a Texan, it could have begun with the colonization of Texas in the 1820s. To an Alaskan it could have ended with the Klondike gold rush. It was still the Old West in the Oklahoma oil towns during the early 20th century.
Out here in Arizona people were still riding into the remote mountain settlements in stagecoaches and on horseback during the 1920s. Tuffy Peach of Camp Verde carried the U.S. Mail on horseback up into the Mogollon Rim country as late as the 1950s.
So the Old West can pretty much be whatever and wherever one wants it to begin and end.