In 1949, Warren Tufts created the comic strip Casey Ruggles, set against the backdrop of the Old West. Distributed by United Feature, launching May 22, 1949, it initially appeared only in the Sunday comics, but when the story became popular, a daily strip was added. Because Tufts was a perfectionist who often worked 80-hour weeks, he had trouble meeting deadlines, even though he had help from numerous assistants and ghosts: Nick Cardy, Ruben Moreira, Al Plastino and Alex Toth.
As Casey Ruggles' popularity grew, Tufts received an offer from a major television studio to produce a Casey Ruggles TV show. However, United Feature nixed the offer on the grounds that a TV show would make the strip less popular. In anger, Tufts left United Feature in 1954, and Casey Ruggles ended shortly afterward, as the replacement artist, Al Carreño, apparently could not maintain reader interest. Tufts' contract with the syndicate required that they be given first refusal on his next strip, so he created The Lone Spaceman, a science-fiction Lone Ranger parody he was sure United Feature would refuse. After the syndicate did, Tufts reconsidered the strip's value and self-syndicated it.He then created, wrote, drew and self-syndicated one of the last and full-page comic strips, the Old West cavalry adventure Lance, which comics critic Bill Blackbeard called "the best of the page-high adventure strips"