An outgrowth of the Civil War, the gunfighter era also spawned several outlaws. With men who had become accustomed to violence and often having lost their lands or fortunes, being quick with a gun was often an easy transition.
Though about a third of the gunman died of “natural causes,” many died violently in gunfights, lynchings, or legal executions. The average age of death was about 35. However, of those gunmen who used their skills on the side of the law, they would persistently live longer lives than those that lived a life of crime.
Jeff Ake – A gunfighter during the Texas Reconstruction, he claimed to have known all of the bad men of the times, including John Wesley Hardin, Jesse James, Cole Younger, Bill Doolin, Sam Bass, and Ben Thompson.
Billy “The Kid” Allen – A gunfighter in Deadwood, South Dakota, and New Mexico killed several men.
Frank Allen (18?? -1881) – A gunfighter, Allen was shot and killed in EI Paso, Texas, in March 1881.
John Allen – A gunman and gambler, Allen had been in Dodge City, Kansas before making his way to Trinidad, Colorado. There, he ran into an “old” Dodge City acquaintance and gambler, Frank Loving. Allegedly the two had been arguing for some time over loans the two had made to each other. On April 16, 1882, their argument came to a head in what is known as the Trinidad, Colorado Shoot-out, in which Allen shot and killed Loving. Charged with murder, John Allen was tried in September but was found not guilty and walked away a free man. Later he headed back to Dodge City and eventually became a street preacher and traveling evangelist.
Joseph Allen (18?? -1909) – A gunfighter who was involved in a bitter feud in Ada, Oklahoma, was later arrested for the murder of Gus Bobbitt. On April 19, 1909, a vigilante mob of 150-200 men stormed the jail and dragged out Allen, along with Jim Miller, Jesse West, and D.B. Burrell. The four were hanged in an abandoned barn behind the jail.
Robert A. “Clay” Allison (1840-1877) – Allison was said to have killed at least fifteen men, moving between Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. He was killed near Pecos, Texas, when his wagon ran him over on July 1, 1887.
Perry Altman – A New Mexico gunfighter and half-brother of Oliver Lee.
Hugh Anderson (18??- 1873) – A Bell County, Texas cowboy, Anderson, was involved in the Hide Park Gunfight in Newton, Kansas, in 1871. In the skirmish, Anderson killed Mike McCluskie and, he himself was wounded. Two years later, Arthur McCluskie, Mike’s brother, caught up with Anderson, and in a brutal duel, both men died.
Reese Anderson – A cowboy and vigilante, Anderson worked for the Granville Stuart Ranch in Montana when the area was rampant with cattle rustlers and bandits. In 1884, Grantville formed a vigilante group, known afterward as “Stuart’s Stranglers,” and Anderson became its leader. Within just weeks, Anderson led a group of some two dozen volunteers to track down the many outlaws hiding out in the area between the Musselshell and Judith Rivers. In the end, they caught and hanged some 23 men that they caught red-handed with stolen cattle or horses.
Scott L. Anderson – Gunman and stage guard working in South Dakota, Anderson fended off several hold-up attempts.
Tom Anderson – A gunfighter, Anderson was the brother of William “Black Jack” Christian.
William Anderson – Anderson was a drunken gunman who lived in Delano, Kansas, a small town outside of Wichita. After being in at least one gunfight himself, he was blinded when bullets were flying in another gunfight. He spent the rest of his days sitting outside cowtown saloons, with his hat in his hands and begging for coins.
Serafin Aragon – A member of Jesse Evans Gang during New Mexico’s Lincoln County War. Nothing is known of his life following the conflict.
“Arkansas Bill” – A gunfighter in Dodge City, Kansas, in the late 1870s who claimed to have killed twenty-two men.
“Arizona Jack” – A gunman and teamster was lynched at Wagon Bed Springs, Kansas Territory, for shooting to death another teamster.
John Barclay Armstrong (1850-1913) – He enlisted with the Travis Rifles in 1871 and joined the Texas Rangers in 1875, where he helped capture John King Fisher in 1874 and tracked and captured John Wesley Hardin in 1877. He retired as a captain in 1882 and died May 1, 1913.
Charles Askins (1907-1999) – Charles Askins was an American lawman, U.S. Army officer, and writer known for his skills as a gunman and work in the American Border Patrol. (Read more in this article submitted by Concealment Express)
Ira Aten (1862–1953) – Aten joined the Texas Rangers in 1883, became captain of Company D, and later tracked and shot down outlaw Judd Roberts, an associate of Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-Wall gang. He served as a sheriff in Fort Bend County, Texas, during the Jaybird-Woodpecker War and later the sheriff of Castro County, Texas.