Wyoming's Johnson County War of 1892 is the historical basis of later popular depictions of the West as violent, and it influenced the development of Wyoming. Many see this era as the end of the open range system and the ascendancy of stock ranching and farming. Popular depiction argues that the event was an act of vigilantism of large foreign-owned firms against small individual settlers. We argue that the war was a conflict of property rights systems and use a model developed by Alston, Libecap, and Mueller to explain why violence broke out in Johnson County in 1892.
Journal Of Economic History
Wills, Doug and McFerrin, Randy, "High Noon On the Western Range: A Property Rights Analysis of the Johnson County War" (2007). Business Publications. 2.