The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961

c ife ad t7es of Kiqj fisher
O. CLARK FISHER
K ING FISHER'S LIFE on the Texas border has already become
something of a legend. As the general reader will know,
Fisher was killed, probably assassinated, along with Ben
Thompson, in the old Vaudeville Theater and saloon in San An-
tonio about eleven o'clock on the night of March 11, 1884.
That event rocked the state from east to west, and it is still a
lively topic of conversation. Ben Thompson and King Fisher
were two of the most daring, courageous, and noted gunfighters
in the history of the Lone Star State.
Initially the stage should be set so as to present a general per-
spective of the times and conditions in which these men lived.
It was during that turbulent post-Civil War era which spawned
scores of gunfighters who left an imprint upon the history of the
times. It covered a period of four decades-from about 186o to
the turn of the century, when frontier characters were granted
considerable tolerance in the exercise of their individuality.
Most of those gunfighters who gained the limelight during the
Gunfighter Era were creatures of similar circumstances, environ-
ments, and motivations. This was essentially a frontier era, with
new settlements springing up and social restrictions beginning
to take form; it was a time when America was grudgingly turn-
ing from the old to the new.
If, as is sometimes claimed, history is no more than biography,
then a study of these gunfighters is revealing. Those gunfighters
were known on the cattle trails, in the mining towns, and in the
gambling halls. They were often seen at Dodge, Cheyenne, Cald-
well, and at Hays City. It has been said that the story of the
gunmen of that era is the story of the frontier. Not all of it, but
when one adds the record of the gunman's associates and his
women, their story is in a sense the story of the West, as it un-
folded during that epochal period.
As the Gunfighter Era began, the Civil War was raging. And

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/. Accessed August 2, 2014.