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Bat Masterson - Page 4

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The Killing of Mr. Masterson's Brother


It fell out as Mr. Masterson had feared. Mr. Wagner, drunk and warlike, sought to enter Mr. Peacock's dance hall, questing trouble. Marshal Ed Masterson, instead of pulling his own gun, as prudence would have dictated, and stopping the violent Mr. Wagner with the cold muzzle thereof, seized that truculent person by the shoulders. Instantly, Mr. Wagner's six-shooter was brought to the fore. With that, Marshal Ed Masterson shifted his left hand to Mr. Wagner's wrist, and for the moment put that drunkard's weapon out of commission. There the two stood, the situation dead-locked.


From across the street, Mr. Masterson saw events and started to his brother's aid. He was still sixty feet away when Mr. Walker, who, like Mr. Wagner was a person of cows, ran from the dance hall, and snapped his six-shooter in Marshal Ed Masterson's face.


The cartridge failed to explode. Mr. Walker was never given the chance of trying a second; for Mr. Masterson put three bullets from his Colt's 45 through him before he could hit the ground. As the dead Mr. Walker went down, Mr. Wagner, still in a grapple with Marshal Ed Masterson, got his gun to bear, and shot Marshal Ed Masterson in the body.



Ed Masterson

Ed Masterson was killed in the line of duty in

 Dodge City, Kansas.

The latter fell wounded to the death, coat afire from the other's powder. Mr. Wagner fell across him, a bullet from Mr. Masterson's pistol through his brain. 


And after this fashion did Mr. Masterson maintain law and order in Dodge. Many were his battles, many the wounds he wrought; and it was said that the local doctor traced half his practice to the untiring efforts of Mr. Masterson in behalf of communal peace.


Once upon a time in Dodge a general war was missed by the narrowest margin. Those dead worthies, Messrs. King, Kennedy, Wagner and Walker had come one and all from Texas in their day, and Lone Star feeling, always clannish, seldom nicely critical, resented their taking off. It is not too much to say that ten thousand dollars might have been borrowed on Mr. Masterson's scalp in a dozen Texas towns. Scores of stark souls came north with the herds, avowing no other intention than to wipe out the hated Mr. Masterson.

Among these was Mr. Driscoll -- big, violent, formidable. Mr. Driscoll was not in Dodge ten minutes before Mr. Masterson introduced himself.


"I'll give you half an hour," said Mr. Masterson, "to put yourself the other side of the Arkansas; and if you ever jingle a spur in Dodge again I'll shoot you in two."


Mr. Driscoll crossed the "Arkansas; and later -- his laurels somewhat tarnished, and not caring to return to Texas under such diminished circumstances -- he journeyed down to Springer, [New Mexico] and went to work for Senator Dorsey's "Triangle-dot." Mr. Burlison was Sheriff of Colfax County, New Mexico, where the Dorsey ranches were, and Mr. Masterson wrote his brother officer a letter.


"Dear Burlison," said Mr. Masterson, "this man Driscoll, who has migrated to your neck of woods, will bear watching. He's a four-flush and a bully. If he tries to start anything down your way, go right at him and he'll quit."  Mr. Driscoll "started" something. Mr. Burlison went "right at him," and Mr. Driscoll "quit." Also when he "quit" he was dead.


Mr. [Clay] Allison was a Texan by adoption, and a friend of Mr. Driscoll. Likewise, he was lame with a club-foot, limped when off his horse, and used a Winchester for a crutch. He had slain many men, and took a quiet pride in the fact that, in the teeth of local ordinances to the contrary, he never took his guns off when he visited any town.


"Kill Every Man with a Big Hat"




Clay Allison, gunfighter

Clay Allison, 1871, after shooting himself in the foot  while stealing government mules. 

The gunshot left him with a permanent limp.

This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE!


Mr. Allison was in Dodge when Mr. Masterson introduced himself to the offensive Mr. Driscoll. Being coldly advised, however, by Mr. Masterson, Mr. Allison was not wearing his hardware. In the day that followed the banishment of Mr. Driscoll, the whisper went Dogian rounds that the Texas cow people, then and there in large numbers, were making war medicine, and would presently "turn loose" under the leadership of Mr. Allison. With that, the careful Mr. Masterson made preparations; and such berserks as Mr. Earp, Mr. Brown, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Holliday, Mr. Bassett, Mr. Short, and others whose names were high and famous in the annals of that hour, began cleaning responsive shotguns to be in readiness for the Masterson call to arms. The word was, if war broke out, to "kill every man with a big cow hat on." The Dodgians, be it known, wore hats of moderate and exemplary rim.


Mr. Masterson believed that if carnage descended it would come in the night. Which perhaps was the reason why Mr. Allison chose the afternoon. Of a sudden, the latter gentleman rode into the middle of that single thoroughfare -- so often a battlefield -- armed to the teeth. Halting his horse in front of Mr. Webster's Alamo, Mr. Allison spake loud and fiercely, but he was heedful to leave Winchester and pistols in their scabbards, and, while his oratory was terrible, his hands continued as harmlessly empty as a child's.


Mr. Masterson, at the time, was sitting in his office. With the earliest note of war from Mr. Allison, he snatched up a shotgun and "covered" that Texas chieftain. Since Mr. Masterson was to the rear of Mr. Allison, the latter enthusiast did not notice his "covered" condition.

Having Mr. Allison "covered," Mr. Masterson turned to Judge Colborn, now of Salt Lake City, then District Attorney of Dodge.


"Skip out the back door, Judge," observed Mr. Masterson, "and tell Wyatt and the rest that I've got Allison dead to rights. Tell them not to close in on him; if he reaches for a gun, I'll hive him. When they hear me shoot, let them get busy right and left; tell them to bump off every Texan they find in the town."

The warning word went down the line, and Mr. Allison was left unmolested in his eloquence. But that very fact made him uneasy. He was not without a working knowledge of homicide as a science; and the sight of the several heads of Messrs. Earp, Holliday,  Bassett, Short, and a score besides, protruded in an expectant fringe from doors and windows all along the street, as though a common idea obtained that something interesting was about to happen, chilled him and bid him pause. Mr. Allison looked excessively bothered. Finally he shut down his oratory in mid flow, got off his horse, limped dubiously into Mr. Webster's Alamo saloon, and took a thoughtful drink. Mr. Masterson put away the shotgun and joined him. Observing Mr. Masterson enter, Mr. Allison pretended great joy.

"Where were you, Bat?" he asked. "I've been looking all over town for you."

"I've been see-sawing on you with a shotgun for ten minutes," returned Mr. Masterson grimly, "What's the matter, Clay?"

Mr. Allison appeared a bit confused, but explained that he had been aroused by the insults of a red-headed hardware clerk who didn't know who he, Mr. Allison, was. Being calmer now, he would again disarm in deference to the prevailing local taste as to shooting irons.

Thus the business passed without actual hostilities. and Mr. Allison confessed later that his reason for "simmering" was he had had a "premonition."

Its just possible he did. In any event, and whatever the cause, his change of offensive front that afternoon saved many a life. Also, it saved Dodge from what would else have proved the ruddiest chapter in all her crimson history.



Continued Next Page

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