Big Nose George Parrott earned his name by his face, and his place as Wyoming Territory’s most notorious outlaw by his deeds. But he lives on because of his skin.
Big Nose was a nasty guy who robbed stagecoaches for fun and killed people for sport—including two Carbon County deputy sheriffs in 1878. He was sentenced to hang and held in the Rawlins jail, where he almost escaped. That’s all the men in town needed to decide it was time for Big Nose to meet the devil.
They dragged him out of jail and tried to hang him, the first rope broke. Big Nose begged to be shot, but they got a bigger rope. They left him hanging there for several hours, then cut him down and skinned his body. The flesh was tanned and made into a pair of shoes proudly worn by John Osborne, the first Democratic governor of the State of Wyoming, at his inaugural ball in 1893. Big Nose’s death mask, lower skull and the shoes are on display to this day at the Carbon County Museum in Rawlins.