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- Top 10 Gunfights – Cowboys and Indians Magazine
One of the most legendary figures of the Old West, Wild Bill Hickok was an actor, gambler, lawman, and gunfighter who was regarded as one of the most skilled gunslingers of his day. Hickok got his start as a constable and rider for the Pony Express, but he gained a reputation for being handy with a gun after he killed outlaw David McCanles with a single bullet from 75 yards away. In , Hickok was elected sheriff of Ellis County Kansas, and is said to have killed two men in his first month on the job.
Hickok was playing poker when he was shot in the back of the head by a gambler named Jack McCall, supposedly in retaliation for a prior insult. Known for his mercurial personality and violent temper, Clay Allison was a gunfighter who is remembered as one of the most notorious and downright deranged outlaws of the Old West. Allison fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, but was discharged after a blow to the head started causing erratic behavior in him. It is this ailment that many historians have said explains his shockingly brutal actions, which included once beheading a man he suspected of murder and carrying the head into his favorite bar.
After this, which cemented his reputation as one of the most murderous figures of his day, Allison went on to participate in a number of gunfights against fellow gunslingers. The most famous of these was against outlaw Chunk Colbert, whom Allison shot in the head when the other drew his gun on him following a meal they had shared. Gun Fighter. He never killed a man that did not need killing. Miller pulled his gun on Frazer, who proceeded to shoot him six times. Two years later, Miller tracked the Sheriff down and killed him with a shotgun.
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Described as being cold to the core, Miller famously declared that he would kill anyone for money, and is rumored to have gunned down everyone from political figures to famed sheriff Pat Garrett. His days of bloodshed finally came to an end in , when he was arrested for the murder of a U. After a mob of some forty people broke into the prison, Miller and three other outlaws were dragged to a nearby barn and lynched.
Tom Horn spent a good portion of his life legitimately employed both as a lawman and a detective, but in actuality he was one of the most cold-blooded killers of the Old West.
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In the s, Horn made a name for himself as a scout and tracker, and was responsible for the arrest of many feared criminals. This caught the attention of the famed Pinkerton Detective Agency, and Horn worked for them for several years as a tracker and bounty hunter. Though known as being eerily cool under pressure, Horn was considered to have a dangerous capacity for violence, and in he was forced to resign his post as a detective after he became linked to the murders of 17 people. Following his resignation, he developed a reputation as a killer for hire, and is said to have been responsible for the deaths of some 20 cattle rustlers over the course of several years.
Horn was finally caught and hanged in after being linked to the murder of a year-old boy. Ironically, some modern historians have claimed that on this particular occasion Horn was actually innocent. Still, there is no denying that he was responsible for a great many other killings. Some historians have reasoned that he may have had a hand in as many as 50 murders.
In a relatively short life, famed outlaw and gunslinger John Wesley Hardin established himself as easily the most bloodthirsty figure of the Old West, and is credited with the deaths of no less than 42 people. The son of a Methodist preacher, Hardin displayed a capacity for violence early on in life when he stabbed a fellow student in the schoolyard at the age of At 15, he gunned down an ex-slave, and then proceeded to kill three Union soldiers before going on the run. He was known for carrying two pistols in holsters strapped to his chest, which he claimed facilitated the quick draw, and he used them to gun down three more people in various gunfights soon after his flight.
Hardin was eventually arrested at age 17 for the murder of a Texas City Marshal, but he was able to procure a gun while in jail, and when transferred he killed one of his guards and again went on the lam.
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Now a celebrated gunfighter, he made his way to Abilene and fell under the tutelage of Wild Bill Hickok. At 25, Hardin was finally arrested by a team of Texas Rangers, and eventually served a total of 16 years in prison before being released at the age of Reformed form his years behind bars, Hardin began studying law and even passed the bar, but his old reputation eventually caught up with him.
In , he was killed after being shot in the back by a lawman in El Paso, Texas.
Instead, a martyred bank clerk refused to open the safe, the alarm was raised, and the mobilized townsfolk all but wiped out the James-Younger gang during a devastating street shootout. Corral during a brief and pitiless midafternoon shooting exercise that had little to do with upholding the law. When all was done in about 30 seconds , three cowboy ruffians were dead, and Morgan, Virgil, and Holliday were injured to varying degrees. But there was no unbiased court in Tombstone.
A tip that Soto was hiding out in the Saucelito Valley, high in the Coast Range of Central California near Hollister, had led Morse and a group of lawmen to a clearing of adobes. Splitting up, Morse entered one of them with a posse member named Theodore Winchell and unexpectedly found Soto himself lounging at a table with some women and compadres.
Manos arriba! Morse ordered Winchell to cuff the burly outlaw.
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Somehow Morse managed to get out of the adobe without being shot by the enraged Soto, pursuing with his six-shooter in hand. Baca took cover in a tiny hut; hunkering on a recessed mud floor, he got some shots off while weathering an assault that allegedly sprayed the hut with 4, bullets in the door alone.
After a hour siege, four cowboy assailants would be dead and Baca very much alive, calmly cooking breakfast in the back. Or so the story goes. When Courtright approached Short about protection money for the White Elephant, Short told him where to go. The two men stood face-to-face at close range outside the White Elephant. Short had already planted two bullets in his chest.
Cavalry intervention at the main TA Ranch siege site near the town of Buffalo. Dragging a fatally shot Ray back inside the cabin, Champion staved off a murderous siege for hours while nursing his dying friend, jotting notes in a later-retrieved diary, and enabling time for the alarm and a counterattack posse to be raised in Buffalo. That was the beginning of his legend. And KC was the end.
Top 10 Gunfights – Cowboys and Indians Magazine
Forced to attempt an escape later that afternoon when the cabin was set afire, Champion bolted for a nearby ravine and ran straight into mortal enemy fire. BY Jordan Rane. Explore: History.