Some of the towns used in the backdrops or plotting in my books include; Wichita, North Platte, Omaha, Ogallala, Green River, Bannack, and Fort Benton, Cozad, and Sidney. I emphasize that these are only a few. But they are filled with an interesting history…every one of them. How do authors decide the towns or cities for their stories? I suspect, for some, it is familiarity. For others, it is the history of the place. For instance, in my book, “Imperfect Promise”, I was looking at the Platte River and trailing the railroads during the time period of my story. Transportation for characters may become important if you need to move characters from one place to another. That leads to tracking the locations. And once accomplished, reading about the locales opens up a world of stories relevant to your story. I’m sure other authors will have other ideas, reasons, and stories related to their choice of setting.
I mentioned Bannack, Montana. Now that was quite the gold mining town when a gold strike in 1862 had the population grow to ten thousand. It had every kind of necessity and then some. In fact, it was the capital of Montana Territory until the capital was moved to Virginia City. I found that by investigating stories of real life characters in Bannack, as well as other old western towns mentioned above, convey the kinds of struggles fictional characters might endure.