El Paso, on the Rio Grande and border with Mexico, halfway between San Antonio and San Diego, was a lawless, corrupt and violent place in the last quarter of the 19th century, like practically every other western boomtown had been at some time in its development. However, lawlessness hung on a bit more tenaciously in El Paso, and the responsible members of the city council were nearly at wits’ end. In the space of a mere eight months in 1881, they had run through half a dozen city marshals. Violent factionalism ruled the streets of the city, and enthusiastic cross-border cattle rustling ruled elsewhere. In desperation, the city fathers sought a capable outsider, a fearless lawman with experience and a reputation sufficiently impressive to overawe potential lawbreakers. A local restaurant owner, Stanley “Doc” Cummings came up with the name of just such a man; his brother-in-law and good friend, Dallas Stoudenmire.