"Big Steve” Long allegedly
served on the Confederate side of the
before becoming a professional
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
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
saloon. 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 to the saloon as "The Bucket of Blood”.
Meanwhile, a local rancher by the name of N.K.
Broswell began talk of forming a vigilante group to put the trio out of
"Big Steve" Long, left, and the Moyer
Brothers, lynched, 1868, courtesy Denver Public Library