The Sheriff

First Appearance: Wild Western #3 (September 1948).
Appearances: Tex Morgan #1, Two-Gun Kid #1-4, Whip Wilson #11, Wild Western #3.
Years Active: 1870s?

The Sheriff, who is never given a name in any of the appearances I've read, is on the older side. He works, "carrying the faith and reputation of a proud old timer in the palm of his gun-hand," in an unnamed town somewhere on the frontier. He's good with his guns and his fists, of course, and is the final arbiter of law and order, willing to kill if he has to. He knows and is friends with everyone in town, and rules it from the porch of his jail, venturing out when he has to.

I wrote that paragraph before I ran across, purely by happenstance, what I believe is the Sheriff's first appearance, in Whip Wilson #11. That story gives a good bit more information about the Sheriff than all the rest of his stories put together. However, the character in that story is referred to as "Speed Larson, the Fightin' Sheriff." But the character (such as he is) is the same, the setting (the Sheriff's town) is the same, and--the clincher, for me--his outfit is the same as the one in the picture above. Exactly the same. I'm going to work on the assumption that Speed Larson, the Fightin' Sheriff, is the same character as The Sheriff, and I'm going to refer to him as Speed from here on.

Speed has one relative, his niece Mary, of whom he is very fond. (When she is kidnaped, he goes rather wild, thoroughly thrashing the two outlaws holding him at gunpoint.) His deputy is Charlie Meeks. His horse is named "Boy." Of his personality, little is changed, but the story makes a point of emphasizing that Speed's word is his bond, that when it is given he never breaks it, and that "trust is a sacred thing."

I wrote the preceding before I read the Sheriff story in Wild Western #3, which adds a bit more information to the Sheriff's background. Speed's real name is "Al." He has a sister Jane, who married a bad man, Durango. Durango is a thug and a crook, but Jane made Al swear that he wouldn't hurt Durango. Jane was dying when she made Al swear this, and so he abided by it, even when Durango terrorized the Sheriff's hometown. Of course, Durango eventually shoots Al's picture of Jane, which angers Al/Speed enough so that he slugs Durango and then shoots the guns out of his hand, driving him out of Al/Speed's town.

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