by Charles F. Price
One of the standard histories of Salida, Eleanor Fry’s Salida: The Early Years, asserts that famed Western lawman and gambler W.B. (“Bat”) Masterson once acted, albeit briefly, as town marshal of Salida’s upriver neighbor, Buena Vista.
Wrote Fry, “Town fathers needed to rid the place of ruffians who ran off peace officers as fast as they could be hired. Masterson’s presence, at $30 per week for three weeks, apparently accomplished what local officers couldn’t. It didn’t hurt that Masterson had posters printed warning outlaws he would shoot them on sight.” No source is cited for this assertion and Fry, now in retirement in Pueblo, can only recall gleaning the story from old Salida newspapers.