Popular portrayals have long depicted the American frontier of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a "Wild West" marked by violence. This compelling volume by Marilynn Johnson explores the question of how violent the West truly was and what conditions made violence likely to occur. By examining the case studies of the Johnson County range war in Wyoming and the Ludlow Massacre during the southern Colorado coal strike, Johnson demonstrates that western violence in this period was a product of the transformation of the West from a rugged frontier to a capitalist market. The introduction provides an overview of the range and mining wars that plagued the region and the specific cases the book examines. The primary sources collected by Johnson — including newspaper reports, industrialists’ accounts, union documents, and personal memoirs — offer a vivid portrait of tensions surrounding land use, industrial development, labor, and race and ethnicity that fueled violence and ultimately contributed to western development. An epilogue looks at how these events have been remembered and how popular culture has helped keep the mystique of the Wild West alive. Document headnotes, two chronologies, questions for consideration, a selected bibliography, and an index enrich student exploration of this often-misunderstood part of American history.