John Wesley Hardin 1853-1895 was an American outlaw, gunfight, and controversial folk-hero of the Old West, born in Texas.
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Hardin became famous as a gun slinger so mean that he reputedly killed a man for snoring! He killed his first man at age 15 and by the time he was finally arrested by Texas Rangers, he claimed to have killed 42 men. The newspapers of the day said it was "only" 27. Various Texas myths say the number topped 60! Whatever the number, Hardin was one of the most feared desperadoes of his time. The Texas Legislature authorized the Governor to issue a $4,000 reward for his capture. A detachment of Texas Rangers was assigned to hunt him down, arrest him, and bring him back to stand trial which they eventually did in 1878.
"The Life of John of John Wesley Hardin as Written by Himself" by John Wesley Hardin is his autobiography, written while he was in prison. It is his view of his life and its circumstances in his own words. Although self serving and selective, it paints an exciting picture of Reconstruction Texas and the violence of the "gunfighter" era in the Old West.
A must read for the student of Texas history, The Texas Rangers, and the frontier in the period 1860s and-70s.
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