Levi Richardson was a buffalo hunter, gambler, and gunman in the days of the Old West.
Richardson was born in Wisconsin in 1851 and was described as an awkward and slow man before landing in Dodge City, Kansas. However, these characteristics did not affect his gunfighting skills. Sometimes working as a buffalo hunter, Richardson was more prone to gamble at the Long Branch Saloon, often with another gambler who was called “Cockeyed” Frank Loving. Though allegedly friends, somewhere along the line, the pair began to feud over something to do with Mattie Loving, Frank’s wife. In March 1879, the pair argued on Front Street, resulting in Richardson punching Loving in the face. Unarmed, Frank Loving walked away, with Richardson claiming, “I’ll blow the guts of you, you cockeyed son-of-a——.”
A few weeks later, on April 5th, Levi Richardson strode purposefully into the Long Branch Saloon, looking for Frank Loving. Believing it was time to settle their differences, Levi was sure he would find Frank in the saloon, as it had come to be is favored place to gamble. But Loving wasn’t there.
Undaunted, Levi headed to the bar for a drink before settling in before the pot-bellied stove in the front of the saloon. By about 9:00 p.m., Richardson had decided that Loving wasn’t going to show up and headed for the door. Just about the time was going to exit, Frank Loving stepped into the saloon. The next thing you know, the Richardson-Loving Gunfight, sometimes referred to as the Longbranch Saloon Shootout, was filling the saloon with smoke. This time Richardson gambled and lost with Loving’s bullets in his chest. Loving was arrested and tried for murder, but the affair was ruled self-defense. (See historical accounts HERE.)
© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated November 2022.
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