Between the Frontier and the Big City: Sixty Years of Small-Town Murder Prosecution
This article examines small-town murder in Johnson County, Kansas, from 1880 to 1939. While providing lurid details of the murders committed over a sixty-year period in the county's small towns and villages, this article concludes that smalltown murder was slightly different from murder elsewhere. The overwhelming impression one gets from reviewing these rural murder cases is that small-town murder - though criminal and violent - was more a matter of inept dispute resolution than a matter of violent crime. True, the frontier and the big cities saw their share of petty disputes "resolved" through murder. But the small-town murders, at least those in Johnson County, were almost exclusively of this type; by and large, stranger murders, serial killers, random homicide, and felony murder were not part of the small-town landscape.