Journalist Merris Barrow arrived in Douglas, Wyo., in 1886 to treat readers to a newspaper “written to be read”—Bill Barlow’s Budget. It needled the powerful and tickled its readers, all while boosting the town. Barrow’s monthly Sagebrush Philosophy circulated nationwide. He died in 1910, just 53 years old.
Throughout his journalism career, Thermopolis newspaperman E. T. Payton’s episodes of mental illness landed him in the state’s mental hospital, where he and other patients suffered sometimes brutal treatment. He died there in 1933, but his whistleblowing helped change laws and improve conditions and care.
Frontier newspaperman Asa Mercer began the controversial Northwestern Live Stock Journal in Cheyenne in the 1880s, backing stockmen’s interests. But when prominent cattlemen-vigilantes invaded Johnson County in 1892, he attacked them stridently in his paper and later in The Banditti of the Plains, the book for which he’s best remembered.