"Big Steve” Long allegedly
served on the Confederate side of the
Civil War before becoming
gunfighter. He landed in
Wyoming in 1866, where he joined
joined with half-brothers Ace and Con Moyer, in
saloon in Laramie City,
Wyoming. The Moyer brothers founded the town, appointing themselves as justice of
the peace and marshal, respectively. Steve Long was made the deputy
marshal in 1867.
Long quickly earned a reputation as an extremely violent
lawman, killing eight men in
gunfights within two months.
Ruling with an iron hand,
the trio meted out "justice” in the backroom of the
ordering ranchers to sign over deeds to their lands and miners to hand
over their claims. Those who refused were shot to death by Long on
the pretense that the victim reached for a weapon.
Numerous others were
killed when they objected to crooked card games run at the
By October, 1868, Long had killed thirteen men and was
suspected of killing another seven who died under suspicious
circumstances. The violence became so prevalent that the
townsfolk began to refer
"The Bucket of Blood”.
"Big Steve" Long, left, and the Moyer
lynched, 1868, courtesy Denver Public Library
saloon in 1868 courtesy
Denver Public Library
Meanwhile, a local rancher by the name of N.K.
Broswell began talk of forming a vigilante group to put the trio out of
Long also was in the habit
of moonlighting as a thief and on October 18, 1868 he attempted to ambush
and rob prospector Rollie "Hard Luck” Harrison. In the ensuing
gunfight, Harrison was killed and Long was shot. Though wounded, he was
able to make it home. While Long's fiancée treated the wound, he confessed
to her what had happened and incensed, she told
N.K. Broswell. Wasting no time, Broswell gathered up
several men in the town and they
stormed into The Bucket of
Blood on October 28, 1868.
Seizing Long and the Moyer
brothers, the mob dragged them to a partially finished cabin, where they
began to string them up to the rafters. But before he could be
strung up Long asked the vigilantes to remove his boots. His last words
were "my mother always said that I would die with my shoes on.” He
was hanged with his bare feet dangling.
of America, updated December, 2008.