Frontier Times

By: Ann Graham Gaines

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: January 1, 1995

Frontier Times is a popular magazine devoted to the history of the American West. John Warren Hunter and his son, John Marvin Hunter, Sr., both amateur historians, founded a precursor named Hunter's Magazine in November 1910. This monthly, edited in San Angelo by John Warren Hunter, who also contributed many of its articles, was initially published in Carlsbad by J. Marvin Hunter, as he called himself. Publication moved to Ozona in April 1912. In the June 1912 issue, the Hunters announced that the magazine would thereafter be published in San Antonio. No further numbers appeared, however, apparently because of Hunter's financial difficulties and a lack of subscribers.

In May 1916 J. Marvin Hunter founded Hunter's Frontier Magazine, which he edited and published in Melvin until July 1917, when the Hunters began to publish it in San Antonio. In August 1917 the magazine was labeled the official organ of the Old Time Trail Drivers Association and the Texas Historic Landmarks Association. This proved to be the last issue of Hunter's Frontier Magazine, however. Hunter again suspended publication without notice, presumably because of low circulation and inadequate finances.

He published the first issue of Frontier Times in Bandera in October 1923. Like its predecessors, this monthly contained no fiction and was dedicated to "frontier history, border tragedy, and pioneer achievement." Earlier, Hunter had written of Hunter's Frontier Magazine that its articles "are true in detail, though in some instances dates and names may be incorrect." As with the other magazines, reminiscences were regularly solicited from the readers of Frontier Times.

Hunter's family always assisted him in printing his magazines. In March 1946 J. Marvin Hunter, Jr., began to publish the magazine in Baird, while his father continued to edit it in Bandera. In January 1953 publication moved to Grand Prairie, and Frontier Times became a quarterly. The last number produced by the Hunter family appeared in October 1954.

Joe Austell Small, owner of Western Publications, purchased Frontier Times in 1955 and suspended publication until the winter of 1957. This quarterly, then labeled a companion to True West and differing from that magazine only in title, was edited by Norm Wiltsey; Walter Prescott Webb served as historical consultant. In the winter of 1959 Small became editor as well as publisher. In December 1962 Frontier Times became a bimonthly, and four months later Pat Wagner assumed the editorial responsibilities. Beginning in 1972, Western Publications also produced facsimiles of J. Marvin Hunter's earlier Frontier Times. The magazine was published in Iola, Wisconsin, from December 1979 to May 1981, when publication was suspended. Frontier Times reappeared in October 1984, published in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and edited by John Joerschke. Robert L. Evans published the magazine between October 1984 and April 1985, when Randy Clark assumed the position. Whereas Hunter initially published only a few hundred copies of his magazines, Frontier Times had built a circulation of 105,000 in 1985. Filled with stories of cowboys and Indians, gold mines, train robberies, ghost towns, and treasure, Frontier Times was described by Webb as being of "great historical value," worthy of being "preserved in all the libraries of the country." In November 1985 Frontier Times ceased publication. Companion publications True West and Old West continued to be published in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

J. Marvin Hunter, Peregrinations of a Pioneer Printer: An Autobiography (Grand Prairie, Texas: Frontier Times, 1954).
  • Journalism
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Publications, Journals, and Magazines

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Ann Graham Gaines, “Frontier Times,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 06, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995