Bluford “Blue” Duck – Running With Belle Starr

Belle Starr and Blue Duck

Belle Starr and Blue Duck

Bluford “Blue” Duck was an Oklahoma outlaw born in the Cherokee Nation. His Indian name was Sha-con-gah. Blue Duck was said to have been a member of a small gang involved in stage holdups and cattle rustling. Sometime in the late 1870s, he was thought to have had a short-term affair with Belle Starr. Later, when she married Sam Starr and the pair formed their own gang involved in cattle rustling, horse stealing, and bootlegging whiskey to Indians, Blue Duck joined them.

On June 23, 1884, Blue Duck and another man named William Christie were riding drunk in the Flint District of the Cherokee Nation. The senseless pair rode up upon a young farmer named Samuel Wyrick, who was working in his field, and Blue Duck emptied his revolver into the man for unknown reasons. He then reloaded and fired upon an Indian boy, shooting his horse out beneath him.

Both Duck and Christie were arrested for the killing, and Blue Duck was sentenced by Judge Isaac Parker to be hanged on July 23, 1886. Christie, however,  was later cleared of the charge.

Belle Starr assisted Blue Duck in his appeal to commute the sentence to life in prison. The appeal was successful, and Blue Duck was sent to Menard Penitentiary at Chester, Illinois, on October 16, 1886. When he developed tuberculosis and was given one month to live in 1895, he was pardoned by President Cleveland on March 20. He returned home to die among friends. On May 7, 1895, he died and was buried in the Dick Duck Cemetery near Catoosa, Oklahoma.

© Kathy Weiser-Alexander/Legends of America, updated November 2021.

Also See:

Catoosa, Oklahoma – Home of the Blue Whale

Outlaws on the Frontier’

Oklahoma Main Page

Belle Starr – Lady Outlaw.