OLD WEST LEGENDS
George "Red Buck” Weightman - Vicious Desperado
George "Red Buck" Weightman (18??-1896) - One of the most vicious
Oklahoma, Weightman was thought to have originally come from
Texas and earned his nickname for his
flaming red hair. By the time he wound
up in Oklahoma he had become a horse thief and killer, reportedly having
already killed four men and willing to kill more for the price of just $50.
One of the most feared outlaws in
Indian Territory, he was said to have
enjoyed killing and often bragged about his deeds. In 1889, he was arrested
Heck Thomas for horse theft and sent to prison, but after serving three
years, he was released and returned to Oklahoma where he soon hooked up with
On September 1, 1893, Red Buck was with
the Doolin Gang in the
Ingalls, Oklahoma gun battle, which took the lives of
U.S. Deputy Marshals.
On one occasion, while Red Buck was
Bill Doolin and his gang, Red Buck
allegedly tried to ambush and kill Bill Tilghman
by shooting him in the back.
Doolin, who was said to have been a
fair-minded man despite his outlaw ways, stopped Red Buck from killing
the U.S. Deputy Marshal,
stating that Tilghman was
too good a man to be shot in the back.
George "Red Buck" Weightman
On April 3, 1895, he participated in
the train robbery in Dover, Oklahoma with the Doolin Gang. The gang
escaped, but a posse was immediately on their tail and when the lawmen
caught up with the thieves, a gunfight broke out, in which
"Tulsa Jack" Blake was killed. Red Buck’s horse was shot out from under him, but he
vaulted up behind
George "Bitter Creek" Newcomb and the outlaws finally
outdistanced the posse.
By that time, Red Buck was known by
every U.S. Deputy Marshal
in the territory and he sent an open challenge to the
Marshals to just try to arrest him.
However, few felt the reward was worth the chance of taking him in.
escaped from the Dover train robbery, they stopped at the home of a
Baptist minister named Godfrey demanding a meal and planning to steal his
horses. When Godfrey objected, Red Buck shot him to death.
Doolin was so outraged at this
unnecessary killing, that he kicked Red Buck out of the gang and then went
into hiding from the vicious outlaw.
In the meantime, Red Buck continued
his murderous ways and was hired to kill a prominent rancher named Perry
Parish in Greer County. However, the rancher found out about the imminent
attack and was able to save himself.
In September, 1895 rancher, Gus Holland, would not be so
lucky. When Red Buck and a man named Charlie Smith tried to steal
Holland’s cattle and the rancher objected, Weightman killed him. A few
days later, the bandits tried to sell the cattle to a rancher in Cleo Springs,
but when the rancher recognized Holland’s brand, he refused. That night, Red
Buck tried to kill the rancher, who survived the attack, but took no
further action in fear of his life.
Red Buck then rounded up a new gang of
outlaws, mostly men from
Texas, who began to terrorize the Taloga area. His gang
included an ex-lawman from Motley,
Texas named Joe Beckman, who left the state
under charges of murder and extortion, as well as other men named Hills Loftis
and Elmer "Kid” Lewis.
number of posses pursued Red Buck before
was finally killed.
However, also living in the area was
U.S. Deputy Marshal
who was determined to rid the region of its lawless elements. Red Buck and his
gang made several attempts on
and other lawmens’ lives, but were unsuccessful.
When the gang robbed a store in Arapaho,
Oklahoma, 30 miles south of Taloga, the gang was quickly pursued by
U.S. Deputy Marshal Joe Ventioner
and his posse. However, when the gang fled to
Texas, they were out of
jurisdiction, and the
Texas Rangers were summoned to confront them. In skirmishes
with the Rangers, Joe Beckman was killed and Red Buck was seriously wounded, but
was able to escape.
Elmer "Kid” Lewis and Hills Loftis were also able
to escape. Lewis was later lynched in Wichita Falls, Texas after
robbing a bank and killing a banker. Loftis was never
heard from again. Red Buck returned to Oklahoma, where he was nursed back to
health and soon joined forces with another Texas outlaw
named George Miller.
At one point, a citizen named W.W. Glover, who lived in a dugout near Arapaho,
harbored the fugitives, but after a couple of days, decided he would rather
collect the rewards on their heads. After informing the Indian Police in Arapaho
of their location, Glover led a posse to the pair’s hideout. However, Red Buck
shot and killed him and the two escaped.
When U.S. Deputy
Marshal Joe Ventioner
heard that Red Buck was back in the area, he, along with Deputy Marshals William
Holcomb and Bill Quillen began to trail the outlaws again. Pursuing them to
Custer County, they found that the men were hiding out at a farm owned by Dolph
Pickelseimer, who had a history of befriending outlaws. On the morning of March
4, 1896, when the marshals tried to arrest the men, gunfire erupted and Red Buck was killed by
Retaliating, George Miller shot Ventioner in the abdomen. Holcomb then fired at
Miller, striking his cartridge belt and causing several rounds to detonate,
blowing off his right hand at the wrist and the three middle fingers of his left
Pickelseimer was arrested and charged with
harboring fugitives and George Miller was sent to prison in
Texas where he
served a short sentence. Weightman
was buried in the Arapaho Cemetery in Arapaho, Oklahoma.
After Miller’s release he had his useless hand fitted
with a steel hook, which earned him the nickname "Hookie Miller.” He continued a
life of crime for several years before finally converting to the other side and
becoming a U.S. Deputy Marshal
himself. He was later killed while serving an arrest warrant.
In the meantime,
U.S. Deputy Marshal Joe Ventioner recovered from his wounds and continued his life
as a lawman.
of America, updated August, 2015.
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