True West began publication in 1953. It was published by Joe Small, from Austin, Texas.
True West benefitted from the early television era: as shows such as Bonanza, The Lone Ranger and Have Gun, Will Travel were aired, many fans became interested in finding out about the lives of real cowboys and cowgirls. True West sold, by the 1960s, in approximately 200,000 newsstands.
In the early 1970's Mr. Small felt ill and in 1974, Small sold the magazine. By 1984, the magazine was being produced from Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 1999, the magazine was bought by current owners, Rick Baish, Bob Boze Bell and Bob McCubbin.
Some of the magazine's most popular subjects cowboys and cowgirls include Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok and Annie Oakley, among others.
With the help of new investors, Bob and Trish Brink and Dave Daiss, the magazine has expanded its format to include travel, books, Western movies and most importantly, preservation.
The launching of The Top Ten True Western Towns (Sheridan, Wyoming was named number one, 2006) has brought national recognition to the magazine.
Executive Editor, Bob Boze Bell is featured on the True West Moments on Encore's lWesterns Channel every day and inquires come in from around the world.