[[quoteright:350:[[Series/{{Gunsmoke}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Lunch-Box-Gunsmoke-Matt-Dillon-US-Marshal-Aladdin-Industries-1959-1961_copy_9315.jpg]]]]

In most countries, a marshal is a high-ranking (or ''the'' highest-ranking) [[UsefulNotes/CommonRanks military officer]]. A ''United States'' Marshal, however, is a federal law enforcement officer, charged with apprehending fugitives from federal law, protecting the federal courts and ensuring the smooth function of the court system.

The United States Marshals Service was the first federal law enforcement agency created in the young U.S.A., in 1789. While its primary duty was to the judicial system, the Service also acted as the local-level representative of federal laws. For example, the Marshals took the census every ten years until 1870.

Marshals have the ability to deputize ordinary citizens (but not military personnel) at need, popularly known as "forming a {{posse}}." In films and television, many marshals' deputies are [[CluelessDeputy clueless]], which will inevitably exasperate the marshal when he finds out. SturgeonsLaw strongly suggests that this happened in RealLife as well.

Since a marshal is directly responsible to the federal government, they're not as likely to be influenced by local politics as TheSheriff or a police chief. That said, many U.S. marshals have also been sheriffs or town marshals before or after their federal service.

Note that the difference between something like the FBI and the US Marshals is that the marshals are expected to go off into the wilderness, usually alone, take into custody and bring back to justice whoever they are sent after. It pretty much requires that you be a total badass. So while an FBI agent might or might not be a Badass, a US Marshal always is - even if he looks like a [[BadassBookworm nerd]]. Big duties assigned to the Marshals Service today include WitnessProtection and prisoner transport across state lines; that said, a surprising number of them spend most of their time doing pretty mundane work like doing security at federal courthouses (manning the scanners that sprouted at the courthouse entryways after 9/11) and serving court papers and enforcing judgments on litigants in federal cases (if somebody sues you in federal court, and wins, and you refuse to just cut a check despite having plenty of stuff, it's a US Marshal who will be seizing your car or your house or your prize fancy cat to pay the judgment; if you don't have a lot of stuff but do have a steady income, it'll be the Marshals who arrange the garnishment).[[note]]Generally, anyway--some overworked Marshal's offices, like the one in the Western District of New York, have so much other stuff to do they don't touch civil satisfaction of judgment, instead leaving that to local sheriffs' offices.[[/note]] They are not, however, the Air Marshals assigned to flights to counter hijackings, which is a separate service entirely.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Carrie Stetko from the ''ComicBook/{{Whiteout}}'' comics and [[TheFilmOfTheBook movie]]. (In RealLife, U.S. Marshals actually do have jurisdiction in Antarctica, although as of 2008, none are permanently stationed there.)
* Several U.S. Marshals appear in the "Apokolips Road" story arc of ''ComicBook/BirdsOfPrey'' escorting metahuman prisoners. They do pretty well, considering they're way out of their weight class on Apokolips.
* ComicBook/WynonnaEarp from the comic book of the same title. Wynonna is a descendant of the famous lawman Wyatt Earp, and she's the top special agent for a special unit known within the US Marshals known as The Monster Squad.
* In Franchise/TheDCU, the 21st century 'Pow-Wow' Smith, descendant of the 19th century lawman of the same name, is a US Marshal.
* J.D. Hart from ''ComicBook/JonahHex''.


[[folder: Film ]]

* Sam Gerard from ''Film/TheFugitive'' movie and its sequel ''Film/USMarshals''.
* Creator/ClintEastwood's character in ''Film/HangEmHigh''.
* Artemus Gordon in ''Film/WildWildWest''. And, as it turns out, Coleman the train engineer.
* Karen Sisco from ''Film/OutOfSight''. She gets her man, in more ways than one.
* ''Film/{{Outland}}''. The protagonist played by Creator/SeanConnery is a Federal Marshal, though his character resembles more TheSheriff in this SpaceWestern inspired by ''Film/HighNoon''.
* Marshal Strickland in ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII'', who looks almost exactly like Wild Bill Hickok.
* Stockburn of the Creator/ClintEastwood {{Western}} film ''Film/PaleRider'' is a corrupt, villainous variant.
* WyattEarp in ''Film/{{Tombstone}}'', which is TruthInTelevision. He was supposed to serve warrants for the cowboys who killed his brother Morgan, but it proved to be legal cover for his RoaringRampageOfRevenge.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger in ''Film/{{Eraser}}'', working on the Witness Protection program.
* ''Film/ConAir''.
* In ''Film/IronMan2'' Tony and Happy find an attractive woman standing by his new car. When Tony asks who she is, she replies "Marshal". It's only when she informs Tony he's being HauledBeforeASenateSubcommittee that we realise it's not her name.
* One shows up in ''Film/DjangoUnchained'', in Daughtry. He is a reasonable and conscientious lawman, contrasted with the town sheriff [[spoiler: who is in fact a wanted fugitive with a bounty on his head.]]
* In ''Film/BreakheartPass'', Pearce is a deputy U.S. Marshal who more less forces his way aboard the train with his prisoner. [[spoiler:Pearce is actually a DirtyCop, and his prisoner is an undercover Secret Service agent]].
* In ''Film/FortyGuns'', the Bonnell brothers are a trio of U.S. Marshals who arrive in Tombstone to serve a federal warrant. When their prisoner is murdered while in their custody, they get drawn into the web of intrigue surrounding the county.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In the later Literature/AnitaBlake novels Anita, Edward (Or rather his legal identity, Ted Forrester) and other licensed vampire slayers are granted federal marshal status, mainly to take care of the legal hassles of a slayer chasing a vamp over state lines. Actually one of her more plausible upgrades.
* Morgan Kane, protagonist of the most commercially successful Norwegian book series to date, is a US marshal for most of his career.
* Teddy Daniels and his partner Chuck Aule in ''Literature/ShutterIsland'' (and its film adaptation). [[spoiler: Or is it?]]
* Creator/ElmoreLeonard has written several prominent Marshal characters, many of whom have appeared in other media, including Raylan Givens, Karen Sisco and her father Marshall (retired, and yes, he was "Marshal Marshall Sisco.")
* Rooster Cogburn from ''Literature/TrueGrit'' and its two adaptations, "the meanest one, double-tough, knowing no fear".
* Deputy Marshal Custis "Longarm" Long, of the long-running ''Literature/{{Longarm}}'' paperback series. The Marshal himself in the stories is William Vail, and sometimes lends a hand.
* In the ''Waco'' series by Creator/JTEdson, Waco - having held a variety of law enforcement positions - ends his career as a U.S. Marshal.
** Deputy U.S. Marshal Solomon Wisdom 'Solly' Cole appears a supporting character in several of Edson's novels.
* In ''Literature/{{Portlandtown}}'', The Marshal was one most of his life, and people still respectfully address him as such.
* In ''Literature/RiverOfTeeth'', Gran Carter is a U.S. marshal, but seems to be rather unimportant to the events other than introducing information about Adelia Reyes, whom he is pursuing for murder. Turns out he is behind [[spoiler:requesting from the federal agent that Adelia be added to the crew in order to bring her to the Harriet and into easy reach of Carter]], since she's managed to slip his pursuit for years now.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Matt Dillon of ''Series/{{Gunsmoke}}''.
* Frank Ragan of ''Series/TheDakotas'' is a US Marshal. He has three deputies.
* Jack Carter was a US Marshal before he became Sheriff of ''{{Series/Eureka}}''.
* The RedShirt traveling with Kate in ''Series/{{Lost}}'', Marshal Edward Mars as portrayed by Fredric Lehne.
* Mary Shannon and Marshall Mann of ''Series/InPlainSight''.
* First Sam Cain and then Teaspoon Hunter of ''Series/TheYoungRiders''. They had a habit of deputizing the entire cast, which meant they could have a lot more action plots than if the express riders had stuck to delivering the mail.
* Raylan Givens of ''[[{{Series/Justified}} Justified]]''. He basically thinks he's [[CowboyCop a modern-day Wyatt Earp]] and actually pulls it off ''very'' well.
* A&E has ''Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force'' a documentary show about the Joint Fugitive Task Force of New York/New Jersey.
* The title character of ''Series/KarenSisco'' and her father Marshall, a retired Marshal.
* ''Series/BreakoutKings''
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr'': Brisco County, Sr. was a US Marshal.
* ''[[Series/{{ChaseNBC}} Chase (NBC)]]''
* In ''Series/TimeTrax'', Lambert's cover in present day was as a U.S. Marshal, as it is the role of that office to apprehend fugitives.
* ''Series/{{Eagleheart}}''
* One episode of ''Series/DangerousRoads'' showed US Marshals who drove a prisoner-transport shuttle bus.
* The US Marshals are seen in ''Series/PersonOfInterest'', guarding HR's boss prior to his trial. [[OneManArmy Reese]] goes through them like a knife through butter. ''Even their SWATTeam.''


[[folder: Manhwa ]]

* Coburn of ''Manhwa/{{Priest}}'', who represents a completely secular neutral third party in a setting where {{fallen angel}}s, a demon-possessed priest, and superhuman [[KnightTemplar foot soldiers]] of a CorruptChurch wreak havoc on the frontier.


[[folder: Radio ]]

* Matt Dillon of Dodge City in ''Radio/{{Gunsmoke}}'' - who described himself in the radio episodes as "the first man they look for, and the last they wanna meet. It's a chancy job, and it makes a man watchful - and a little lonely."
* James Whipple of ''Radio/LightningJim'' and his deputy marshal Whitey Larsson.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* An option for player characters (detailed in the ''Law Dogs'' source book) in ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}''.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Jake Marshall takes CowboyCop to new levels in ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' and actually dresses up as a stereotypical Western federal marshal.
* [[CoolOldGuy Marshal Johnson]] in ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption''. His actual role in the plot is that of TheSheriff of Armadillo, and he doesn't act much like a real U.S. Marshal would. At one point he even says that he can't do anything about early game BigBad Williamson because he commits his crimes in the next county over. This is despite real Marshals having [[ArtisticLicenseLaw jurisdiction over the entire state or territory they're deployed in.]] Presumably the game designers confused him with the "town marshal" who only has jurisdiction in one locality.


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars'' from the ThrillingAdventureHour is another SpaceWestern version assigned to a whole planet.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Even though it is a SpaceWestern, this is pretty much the ''[[WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers Galaxy Rangers]]''' job description.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bravestarr}}'' is a Galactic Marshal (which is practically the same thing) assigned to the town of Fort Kerium on the planet of New Texas.


[[folder: Famous Real Life Marshals ]]

* Frederick Douglass. Yes, ''that'' Frederick Douglass.
* Dallas Stoudenmire (1845-1882), successful City Marshal who tamed and controlled the remote, wild and violent town of El Paso, Texas; became U.S. Marshal serving West Texas and New Mexico Territory just before his death.
* Virgil and Wyatt Earp, Deputy Marshals for the Arizona Territory (Virgil first, Wyatt after his brother's death.) Virgil was also the town marshal for Tombstone.
* James "Wild Bill" Hickok, Deputy Marshal of Fort Riley, Kansas.
* Bat Masterson, later in life, was appointed a Deputy Marshal for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan, the Bronx, and the lower Hudson Valley) by Theodore Roosevelt, to give him a relatively peaceful post where he'd still be a lawman.
* Bass Reeves, Deputy US Marshal for the Western District of Arkansas. Credited with over 3,000 arrests, Reeves is often considered one of the greatest Marshals to ever serve.