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Old West Gunfights - Page 3

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Bill Hickok-David Tutt Shootout (1865) - In July of 1865 Hickok met up with a twenty-six-year-old gambler in Springfield, Missouri, to whom Hickok lost at the gaming tables. When Bill couldn’t pay up, Dave Tutt took Hickok's gold pocket watch for security. Hickok growled that if Tutt so much as used the timepiece, he would kill him. However, on July 21, 1865, the two met in the public square and Tutt was proudly wearing the watch for all to see. This insult, of course, soon led to a gunfight. At a distance of about 75 yards, the two faced off. Tutt's shot missed but Hickok's hit Tutt in the chest. The wounded man then stumbled for about twenty feet before he finally fell to the ground dead.  Two days later, Hickok was arrested and tried for manslaughter. His trial  began on August 3rd, in which Hickok claimed self-defense. Three days later, he was acquitted of all charges. Dave Tutt's  body was buried in the Springfield City Cemetery, but was later moved to the Maple Park Cemetery, where it is today. The site is marked with a gravestone showing a carved pocket watch, playing cards and pistols.


Hyde Park Gunfight, aka: Newton Massacre (1871) - Occurring in the Kansas cowtown of Newton, the whole affair began with and argument over politics between Mike McCluskie and Billy Bailey in the Red Front Saloon on August 11, 1871. When the dispute turned violent McCluskie shot Bailey, who died the next day. McCluskie immediately fled town to avoid arrest, but returned just a few days later, after he heard that the shooting would most likely be deemed self defense. Though Bailey never produced a weapon, McCluskie claimed he feared for his life, because Bailey had been in three previous gunfights, in which he had killed two men.



Wild Bill Hickok

Wild Bill Hickok

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When McCluskie returned, Bailey's Texas cowboy friends were waiting for him, ready to take revenge. Late on the evening of August 19, 1871, McCluskie strode into Tuttle's Dance Hall, located in an area of town called Hyde Park and began to play faro. After midnight four Texas cowboys, also entered the saloon. Hugh Anderson then approached McCluskie, calling him a coward and threatening to kill him. Though another player attempted to stop the violence, Anderson  shot McCluskie in the neck. McCluskie tried to return the shot, but his pistol misfired, and he fell to the floor. Anderson, now standing over him, pumped several more bullets into his back.


The three other Texas cowboys also began firing, perhaps to keep the crowd back. However, an 18 year-old man who was a friend of McCluskie's opened fire into the smoke filled room, killing two of the Texas cowboys, the would-be peacemaker gambler, and an innocent bystander. He also wounded Hugh Anderson, one of the Texas cowboys, as well as another man having nothing to do with the squabble.


Afterwards, Riley walked away and was never seen again. A warrant was issued for Anderson, but he had already escaped back to Texas. More ...


Hunnewell, Kansas Gunfight (1884) - In the 1880's, when the cowtowns in Kansas thrived with beef being shipped to the east, the small town of Hunnewell sprouted up as yet another shipping point for Texas cattle. Located on the Kansas-Oklahoma border in Sumner County, the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad provided quick access to the Kansas City stockyards. During Hunnewell's heydays, it sported one hotel, two stores, a barbershop, a couple of dance halls, and eight or nine saloons. With little more than railroad workers and cowboys, violence was not at all uncommon. As one railroad worker recollected years later, "There was no Bat Masterson to control the casual use of firearms, and there was more shooting than I ever saw in Dodge City." It was during this time that two cowboys named Oscar Halsell and Clem Barfoot were raising cain in Hanley's Saloon on October 5, 1884. When two lawmen walked into the saloon and tried to quiet the disturbance, all hell broke loose with guns blazing. Before, the incident was over, some of Hunnewell's citizens were involved in the gunfight. Barfoot died of his wounds a few days later, as did Deputy Ed Scottin.


Las Vegas Saloon Shootout (1880) - In January, 1880, Las Vegas, New Mexico was firmly in control of a criminal cartel called the Dodge City Gang, which included a number of men who had migrated to New Mexico from the cowtowns of Kansas, hence the name. Acting in the capacity of lawmen, the Dodge City Gang strictly enforced a rule that no one was to carry arms in the city, with the exception of them, of course. On January 22, 1880, four rough-housing cowboys by the names of T.J. House, James West, John Dorsey, and William Randall were parading about town sneering, laughing, and looking for trouble. Word soon reached Marshal Joe Carson, who, along with Deputy "Mysterious" Dave Mather, found the men at Close and Patterson’s Variety Hall. When Carson demanded that the four men "check” their guns, they refused.  A wild gunfight ensued and Carson was killed immediately, while Deputy "Mysterious" Dave Mather killed Randall and dropped West. John Dorsey, though wounded, and T.J. House managed to escape.


Long Branch Saloon Dodge City, KansasLong Branch Saloon Shootout, aka: Richardson-Loving Gunfight (1879) - In the spring of 1879, the wicked little town of Dodge City, Kansas had yet to be tamed, a fact that would show itself once again in a gunfight at the Long Branch Saloon. The two men involved, Levi Richardson, a buffalo hunter, and "Cockeyed Frank” Loving, a professional gambler, had allegedly been feuding for some time, a dispute that had something to do with Mattie Loving, Frank’s wife. By April, the disagreement led to a gunfight in the Long Branch Saloon. When the smoke cleared, Richardson lay dead on the floor. Three years later, Loving would tangle again with another gunfighter in Trinidad, Colorado. In what is known as the Trinidad, Colorado shoot-out, Loving died at the hands of John Allen on April 16, 1882. More ...


O.K. Corral Gunfight (1881) - When the Earps arrived in Tombstone, Arizona in 1880, they were almost immediately at odds with the Clanton Gang, more often referred to as the "Cowboys." The Clantons and their group of ruffians had been "lording" it over Tombstone and the surrounding area without interference before the Earps arrived in town. Virgil Earp, who soon became Tombstone's marshal, immediately suspected the "Cowboys" of rustling cattle on a large scale and set out to stop their criminal endeavors. After a number of run-ins between the two factions, it came to a head on October 26, 1881 when Virgil arrested Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury for carrying firearms in the city limits. After the pair were released, they joined up with Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury, who had just arrived in town. Gathered near the OK Corral on Fremont Street, Virgil then decided to disarm Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury, as well. Marshal Virgil Earp recruited his brothers Wyatt and Morgan to help him in this dangerous task. Doc Holliday also insisted upon joining them. When the four men approached the "Cowboys," demanding their guns, at hell broke loose. In what has since forever been known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton made the mistake of cocking their pistols when approached by the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday. It is not really known who fired the first shot, but Doc's bullet was the first to hit home, tearing through Frank McLaury's belly and sending McLaury's own shot wild through Wyatt's coat-tail. The 30-second shootout left three Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury dead. Virgil Earp took a shot to the leg and Morgan suffered a shoulder wound. Sheriff John Behan arrested Virgil, Wyatt, and Morgan Earp, as well as Doc Holliday for the murder of Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury. However, Judge Wells Spicer, who was related to the Earps, decided that the defendants had been justified in their actions.


Over the next few months, while the Earps struggled to retain control over Tombstone, Virgil Earp was seriously wounded by an assassination attempt and Morgan Earp was killed when he was playing pool on March 18, 1882. Eyewitnesses claimed that Frank Stilwell was seen running from the scene of the crime and three days later Stilwell's was found dead. A Mexican who was also implicated in the crime was also found murdered in a lumber camp. It is believed that Wyatt Earp was responsible for killing both men. More ...



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