Gunfighter Marksmanship

long-branch-saloon-in-1874-blog

Not all shootists were expert marksmen. In Dodge City, one night in 1880, a bunch of Texas drovers tangled in Sherman’s Saloon. Hundreds of shots were fired and the only casualty was a stray cat.

An 1884 gun battle in Frisco, New Mexico, lasted thirty-three hours, in Frisco, New Mexico; some eighty angry Texans reputedly fired 4,000 shots into a jacale where a young self-appointed deputy named Elfego Baca was holed up. They’d been hurrahing the Hispanic citizens of the town when Baca had the temerity to interfere. When a truce was finally called and the damage was surveyed, the broom handle in the shack had eight bullet holes and the door was pockmarked by 367 bullets. Amazingly, the nineteen-year-old Baca came through the battle unscathed.

Rowdy Joe Lowe and A. M. Sweet got into a gun battle in Fanny Grey’s saloon in Newton, Kansas over Joe’s wife, Rowdy Kate.  Fifty shots were fired in before Sweet fell dead.

Cockeye Frank Loving and Levi Richardson got into a gunfight one Saturday night in 1879 in the Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City. Richardson fired first and Loving’s pistol misfired.  He ran behind a stove with Richardson in hot pursuit, their pistols nearly touching.  As the crowd scampered for cover the two continued exchanging shots.  Finally, Richardson slumped across a pool table with a fatal gunshot wound.  Three years later, in Trinidad, Colorado, Cockeye Frank and a man named Jack Allen exchanged sixteen shots without a hit. Finally, the gunfight had to be called on account of darkness. They resumed the battle the following day and Cockeye Frank bit the dust. Remorsefully, Jack Allen put away his six-shooter and became a preacher.

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