McAlester is a city in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 17,783 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Pittsburg County. It is currently the largest city in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, followed by Durant. The town gets its name from J.J. McAlester, who later became Lt. Governor of Oklahoma and was immortalized as a character in the novel True Grit, which was then made into feature films in 1969 and 2010.