Most of the people who settled in the West didn’t wake up in the morning and strap on a gun. Nor did they get involved in shootouts. As in any society, the Old West had its share of bad men and women. The rate of homicides on the frontier remains a source of contention. Some historians say most towns averaged about 1.5 murders a year, not all of them shooting. Others however, say the risk of being murdered was high. In Tall Tales from the High Plains & Beyond, Book Three: The LawBreakers, novelist Tom Rizzo takes you behind the scenes to meet some of the gunmen and back shooters who roamed the frontier trying to take what wasn’t theirs:
Bob Rogers who slashed the throat of a deputy constable, left him to die, and then returned to the crime scene to attack the dead man’s corpse.
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James McIntire, a lawman turned killer who once claimed he talked with Christ.
Cyrus Skinner whose reign of terror ended in a town appropriately named, Hell Gate.
Deputy Sheriff Charley Allison who organized a gang to of outlaws to rob stagecoaches.
Lame Johnny, a one-time college student who graduated to a criminal career of cattle and horse rustling and robbing stagecoaches.
Belle Starr, wife, mistress, mother, and horse thief, who died from an assassin’s bullet.
Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce, a card cheat turned killer