David McCanles—later killed by Wild Bill Hickok—was a bully. In late 1859, he caught one of his Nebraska ranch employees drunkenly sleeping on the job. McCanles set the man’s beard on fire. After the fire was put out, McCanles tied the guy to the back of an unbroken horse and set it loose on the prairie. As if that wasn’t enough, McCanles then ordered the worker to climb a honey locust tree—which was covered with long, sharp thorns. The employee begged for forgiveness and got out of town.
True West June 2023