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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > The Wild West

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The Wild West Discussions on Cowboys & Indians, Mexican War, etc. Sponsored by Wild West magazine.

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  #1  
Old 25 Jan 13, 11:14
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Who do you think was the most dangerous gunfighter in the West

Who do you guys thing was the most dangerous gunfighter in the old West? Maybe he wasn't necessarily the fastest but had a big ole mean streak and was likely to shoot at the slightest provocation.

Men like ..
John Wesley Hardin
Wyatt Earp
Doc Holliday
Clay Allison
Jim Miller
Arkansas Bill
Cullen Baker
Phil Coe
Wild Bill Hickok
Ben Thompson
Henry Brown
Ben Wheeler
Bat Masterson
etc..

From what I have read Henry Brown was one of those men that was easily angered and was a real 2 gun man. Of course everyone has heard that Hardin shot a man for snoring but Hardin later claims he did not mean to hit the man just wake him up so he would quit snoring.

Just interested in hearing you knowledgeable peoples thoughts on this subject.

Last edited by slick24; 25 Jan 13 at 13:59..
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  #2  
Old 25 Jan 13, 11:49
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Doc for me... seemed he didn't really give a crap if he went out fighting.

He never got that chance. Tough to fight guys that don't care if they die.
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  #3  
Old 25 Jan 13, 12:40
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Back in the day Hickok had the reputation. Gunmen didn't want any part of him. Ben Thompson tried to get Hardin to kill him because he didn't want to face him. All of those guys on the list were top dogs. I'd definitely consider Bill Longely one of the most dangerous.
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Old 25 Jan 13, 14:07
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Yeah, Wild Bill Longley was supposed to be ruthless, fast, unpredictable and quick-tempered. He was just an all around "bad" dude. He claimed to have killed 32 people. Most were killed with no warning, only one (Lou Shroyer) was known to have returned fire.
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Old 25 Jan 13, 15:33
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I love the wild west threads, we need more of them!
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  #6  
Old 25 Jan 13, 15:37
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yeah but so far only you and I and dgfred are interested in this..
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  #7  
Old 25 Jan 13, 16:12
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'Nobody' was better .
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Old 25 Jan 13, 17:04
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Other people, like me, will be reading it but don't have enough knowledge to be able to contribute. I guess we could ask questions though.

For example: "How did these apparently psychopathic, gun-loving murderers come to be so romanticized? Did any of them have serious redeeming features or justifications for their multiple killings?

Philip
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Old 25 Jan 13, 17:12
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Hey... watch 'Tombstone' as soon as you can.
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Old 25 Jan 13, 17:15
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Well, Shane seemed like a thoroughly decent chap (for a gunslinger).

Of course, he was one of the fictional varieties.


Philip
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Old 25 Jan 13, 17:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilipLaos View Post
Other people, like me, will be reading it but don't have enough knowledge to be able to contribute. I guess we could ask questions though.

For example: "How did these apparently psychopathic, gun-loving murderers come to be so romanticized? Did any of them have serious redeeming features or justifications for their multiple killings?
If I may offer an opinion Phil; again from someone from the outside.

In the 19th Century, when most of these men were active, all the heroes which were romanticised were steely eyed killers, psychopaths, or others which wouldn't sit so well with today's mores.
These ones just happened to be law men or badmash at a time when that was the defining theme. French or British heroes were colonial soldiers and explorers.
Also, these were men on a savage frontier - the US was born from such a frontier, and her folk heroes of this time seem to come from there - Davy Crockett, Daniel Boon, Jim Bowie, etc. although earlier.
The fire-arm was the settler of disputes and the keeper of the peace, so to become proficient in it would be the acme of skill, and also keep you alive long enough, in this savage world, to become a hero. Quite possibly there was just very few alternatives to gunslingers for appropriate heroic characters of that time and place.
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Old 25 Jan 13, 17:49
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Doc Holliday, Johnny Ringo. Billy the Kid.
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Old 25 Jan 13, 19:35
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British Folk have their own Wild West hero ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by slick24 View Post
Who do you guys thing was the most dangerous gunfighter in the old West? Maybe he wasn't necessarily the fastest but had a big ole mean streak and was likely to shoot at the slightest provocation.

Men like ..
John Wesley Hardin
Wyatt Earp
Doc Holliday
Clay Allison
Jim Miller
Arkansas Bill
Cullen Baker
Phil Coe
Wild Bill Hickok
Ben Thompson
Henry Brown
Ben Wheeler
Bat Masterson
etc..

From what I have read Henry Brown was one of those men that was easily angered and was a real 2 gun man. Of course everyone has heard that Hardin shot a man for snoring but Hardin later claims he did not mean to hit the man just wake him up so he would quit snoring.

Just interested in hearing you knowledgeable peoples thoughts on this subject.

... a man who made that West less wild, his name is Sir Samuel Benfield Steele, or just plain Sam Steele, of the North-West Mounted Police. Unlike the US West, where infrastructure followed the settlers, with lawlessness in the interim, the Canadian West was settled with the Queen's justice already in place, by the North-West Mounted Police.


Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald first began planning a permanent force to patrol the Northwest Territories after the Dominion of Canada purchased the territory from the Hudson's Bay Company. Reports from Army officers surveying the territory led to the recommendation that a mounted force of 100 to 150 mounted riflemen could maintain law and order. The Prime Minister first announced the force as the North West Mounted Rifles but concern from the United States of America fearing a military build up led the Prime Minister to rename the force the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) when formed in 1873.

More at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Mounted_Police

The North-West Mounted Police, and the British Empire, were embodied in the person of Sam Steele, who would go on to command Lord Strathcona’s Horse in the South African Boer War, and command Canadian Troops in Britain in WWI. He was quite a guy!

More:

http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?BioId=41844

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Steele
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Old 25 Jan 13, 19:38
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Members of the James-Younger gang were probably as dangerous as anybody and way more dangerous than most.

Think about it: they were involved in more close range "pistol discussions" as Confederate guerrillas than most old west gunfighters ever dreamed about. And then they started their outlaw career.

We think of them as old west but geographically they were mid-western and culturally they were pure southern.

Their era was coming to an end about the time many famous gunfighters were becoming known. I don't consider them folk heroes the way some do but they were dangerous men and they were not cowards. They did some low-down dastardly deeds but they were not cowards.

This post as got me thinking (dangerous, because sometimes I confuse me doing that) it's about time to watch The Long Riders and Ride With The Devil again.
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Old 25 Jan 13, 19:40
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Well, the quick-draw duel on Main Street of a frontier towns, like the one that "Gunsmoke" opened with every week when it was on TV (Hell, it's still on TV) was a myth. I guess different men had a reputation for being tough or ruthless. But frankly, when you separate the reality from the myth, there were hardly any "gunfighters" as Westerns depicted them.

My favorite fictional gunfighter was "Hipshot" on the old Stan Lynde comic strip. "Rick O'Shay," set in the fiction Montana town of "Conniption." Rick was the white-hat sheriff, Hipshot was the black-hat diamond-in-the-rough gunslinger with a secret heart of gold, who would always show up in the nick of time to back up Rick's play.
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