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OLD WEST LEGENDS
Old West Feuds & Range Wars
Old West wasn't filled with violence enough -- stemming from
Indian raids, numerous
outlaws, and the ever-present
vigilantes trying to control them, then another common event was the frequent feuds, range wars, and political conflicts that created yet more bloodshed in the
The violence created in these many battles often occurred where there was no law or the law was too "weak" to enforce any type of change. Similar to the
vigilantes, those who felt they were unduly wronged, were prone to take the law into their own hands.
Sometimes these feuds were the result of long-running arguments between two groups of people, especially families or clans, and perhaps may have started decades earlier over the smallest insult. One thing leads to another until cycles of retaliation can last for generations.
However, the vast majority of the well-known feuds in the American West were the result of political confrontations or land control. For those involved, their actions were rarely seen as lawless, but rather a means to bringing some kind of "law" to an area where chaos tended to prevail.
The many range wars of the American West were often
depicted in old western films.
Find a Feud
Regardless of the reasons, these "wars" resulted in hundreds of deaths, when vengeance was taken and bloody vendettas resulted in warring factions continuing to battle, sometimes for years.
Colfax County War
(1870-1877) - Guns roared for almost two
decades after Lucien Maxwell sold the largest land grant in U.S. history,
located in northeast
Denver City Hall War (1894) - At this time
the city of Denver was so politically corrupt that Governor Davis Waite ordered
several reappointments. However, city officials refused to vacate their
positions and Waite called in the militia.
Dodge City War
(1883) - Though this "war" was
bloodless, it was just inches away from an all out
Kansas businessmen tried to push
out of town and he called on his buddies,
Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson.
Early-Hasley Feud (1865-1869) - A family feud in Bell
that became more embittered after the
Earp Vendetta Ride (1882) -
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in October, 1881, and
Morgan Earp's murder on March 18, 1882,
Warren Earp, along with
Jack Johnson and Sherman McMasters
would go on the Earp Vendetta Ride killing
those responsible for
El Paso Salt War (1877) - A feud
that occurred over the salt flats of the Guadalupe Mountains that culminated in
a bloody battle in the small town of San Elizario.
Horrell-Higgins Feud (1877) - This family feud
grew out of accusations of cattle theft in Lampasas County,
Horrell War (1873-74) - After a friend of the hell-raising Horrell
brothers killed a Hispanic constable in Lincoln County,
lawmen killed Benjamin Horrell. The other brothers retaliated by killing
some 13 Hispanic citizens during the course of the feud.
- A political war in Fort Bend
control of the county.
Johnson County War (1892)-
Sometimes called the War on Powder
River, this feud came to a head in 1892 as cattle barons and small
ranchers battled it out for land and water rights in
Kansas-Missouri Border War (1854-1865) - Beginning seven
years prior to the
this bloody conflict was fought over whether
would be a free state or a slave state and continued on throughout the
(1867-1871) - One of the best known of all the feuds in
Lee-Peacock Feud in northeast
this was not simply a dispute between families, but a continuation of the
lasting four bloody years after the rest of the nation had laid down their
Lincoln County War
(1876-1878) - A war between two rival factions attempting to control the
economics of Lincoln County,
Mason County War, aka: Hoodoo War
- A battle between rival German immigrants and
native Texans which occurred when large
numbers of cattle began to be killed or go missing.
Pleasant Valley War, aka: Tonto Range War
(1886-1892) - Range war between the cattle-herding Grahams and the sheep-herding Tewksburys in the Pleasant Valley
Slicker War of
Benton County, Missouri (1840-1842) -
In the old fashioned tradition of a Hatfield and
McCoy type feud, was the "Slicker War of Benton and Polk Counties in the 1840s.
The Stevens County War
- Two small towns in southwest
fought a bloody war over the county seat, leaving in its wake a number of
Sutton-Taylor Feud (1868-1875)
- This family feud, that grew out of the
bad times following the
occurred in DeWitt County,
Texas and was
was one of the longest and
bloodiest in the state.
War (1839-1844) The first major feud to break out in
Texas was born
Texas days as a republic. For years, a strip of land in East
bordered Louisiana and Mexico had been ignored by Spanish, Mexican and
authorities. By the time
Texas became a republic, the swatch of land had
developed into a lawless place where land frauds, cattle rustlers, and killings
War (1844-1850) - A political dispute in Marion County,
Arkansas that escalated to violence over the
Frontier Wars by
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