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[The following is in regards to tent saloons in the Wild West, and the proprietor of one in particular.]

A standard example of a tent saloonkeeper is Roy Bean, a chap we shall be returning to several times in this chapter. Bean was a crook who, at the time, was beating up his wife in the Texas town of Beanville (no relation). In 1881 he heard that the construction of a new railway had resulted in several workers’ camps near the Pecos River. So he sold everything he owned and bought ten 55-gallon barrels of whiskey and a tent. Then he set off and found a camp of 8,000 thirsty men. He pitched his tent and started his new career.

There was, though, a problem. The whole point of the Wild West was that there was next to no legal infrastructure. The nearest courtroom was 200 miles away in Fort Stockton. Those 8,000 railway workers had neither booze nor law. Who was to protect the locals from a ne’er-do-well such as Bean? Luckily a passing Texas Ranger saw the problem. He paid a visit to Roy Bean’s saloon and asked him, point blank, if he’d like to be justice of the peace.

Bean said yes.

Becoming justice of the peace was a real move up for a habitual criminal like Bean. It was also great for everybody else in the area as they new had recourse to the law. Everybody was happy. Bean was so happy that he went and shot up the saloon of his main competitor, who was Jewish, which seems to have made this all right, though the question of what was right and wrong was now entirely in the hands of Judge Roy Bean.


Source:

Forsyth, Mark. “The Wild West Saloon.” A Short History of Drunkenness. Three Rivers Press, 2017. 187-88. Print.


Further Reading:

Phantly Roy Bean, Jr.

[**The following is in regards to tent saloons in the Wild West, and the proprietor of one in particular.**] >A standard example of a tent saloonkeeper is [Roy Bean](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/43/Phantly_Roy_Bean%2C_Jr._.jpg), a chap we shall be returning to several times in this chapter. Bean was a crook who, at the time, was beating up his wife in the Texas town of Beanville (no relation). In 1881 he heard that the construction of a new railway had resulted in several workers’ camps near the Pecos River. So he sold everything he owned and bought ten 55-gallon barrels of whiskey and a tent. Then he set off and found a camp of 8,000 thirsty men. He pitched his tent and started his new career. >There was, though, a problem. The whole point of the Wild West was that there was next to no legal infrastructure. The nearest courtroom was 200 miles away in Fort Stockton. Those 8,000 railway workers had neither booze nor law. Who was to protect the locals from a ne’er-do-well such as Bean? Luckily a passing Texas Ranger saw the problem. He paid a visit to Roy Bean’s saloon and asked him, point blank, if he’d like to be justice of the peace. >Bean said yes. >Becoming justice of the peace was a real move up for a habitual criminal like Bean. It was also great for everybody else in the area as they new had recourse to the law. Everybody was happy. Bean was so happy that he went and shot up the saloon of his main competitor, who was Jewish, which seems to have made this all right, though the question of what was right and wrong was now entirely in the hands of Judge Roy Bean. _________________________ **Source:** Forsyth, Mark. “The Wild West Saloon.” *A Short History of Drunkenness*. Three Rivers Press, 2017. 187-88. Print. __________________________ **Further Reading:** [Phantly Roy Bean, Jr.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Bean)

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