"A place where people speak their mind and live their lives at the pace of a bullet." ~Jethro Compton

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance takes place around 1895-1910, in a fictional town called Twotrees.   It's set during a time when the transition from a "wild" western frontier into organized segments of a federal union was evolving. Playwright, Jethro Compton, mentions in his author's notes that his play is set in, "a stark landscape that inspired generations of stories and storytellers and captured the imagination of so many." flagstafftown

In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"the West [is depicted] as a crossroads of cultures, where various groups struggled for property, profit, and cultural dominance." 

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“In a world where life is short, and full of danger.” Close living quarters and businesses meant privacy was minimal. The true spirit of the American West, according to Jethro Compton, was one of survival, hope and hopelessness. A set of universal feelings.

References:

https://www.archives.gov/research/american-west/

http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/timeline/riseind/west/