atm-logoDid Clay Allison get in a gunfight with Deputy Sheriff Charles Faber?

Butch Kelly
Lamar, Colorado

Yes. On December 21, 1876, in Las Animas, Colorado, Clay Allison and brother John were on a glorious drunk, harassing partiers in the Olympic Dance Hall. Deputy Sheriff Charles Faber asked them to check their guns, but they refused.

Faber grabbed his shotgun and deputized two men. As the lawmen entered the hall, someone hollered, “Look out!” John turned around just in time to catch a load of buckshot in the chest and shoulder.

Clay fired four quick shots at Faber, hitting him once in the chest. Faber fell to the floor, dead; the two deputies fled. Clay dragged Faber’s body across the floor so his brother could see that vengeance had been done.

John survived his wounds. Because Faber had fired first, the Allisons got off on a claim of self-defense.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.  If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

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