Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Face to Face Gunfights

July 16, 2013
   Cooler, but muggy, high nineties (which qualifies as a cold spell in these parts). Actually got a six inch rain last night (one drop every six inches).

   Working on a big piece for True West magazine on the myth vs. reality of face to face gunfights. It started with a question from a friend of mine, Kevin Mulkins:

"Over lunch today Roy brought up the possible/probable myth of the stand in the street, fast draw shoot-out in the Old West and if there really were any shoot-outs like that that are documented."
—Kevin Mulkins

   First of all, I must say it has become quite popular in recent years to dismiss the stand-up shootout as a total Hollywood invention. Sometimes, experts will admit that the Wild Bill Hickok vs. Dave Tutt shootout is the prototype for the classic face off, but then they'll go on to say that other than this exception it never happened. Well, it's true there were no "fast draw shoot-outs" where one gunfighter let the other go first, BUT the face off in the street gunfight was much more prevalent than is given credit for. I think we can name and illustrate at least 25 stand up, face to face gunfights. And we're working on the list even as you read this.

   I sent this out to all my gun fighting experts and got quite a list from the usual suspects. And, I got one I had never heard about:

"Also don't forget that big shootout in Hot Springs, Arkansas, March 16, 1899, between city police and deputy sheriffs.  3 lawmen were slain.   You can see a Wikipedia entry here:"
Hot Springs Shootout

—John Boessenecker

  Now THAT is a gunfight! Lawmen vs. lawmen, Crazy amazing.

"The facts are always less than what really happened."
—Old Vaquero Saying