Arizona Ranger Lieutenant Harry Wheeler took part in one on the West’s most unusual gunfights when a shootout turned into a contest of mano a mano. It all happened in the railroad town of Benson, Arizona on February 28, 1907 when a lover’s triangle turned violent.
J. A.Tracy, agent for the Helvetia Copper Company, was stalking his estranged wife and followed her to Benson where he threatened to kill the lady and her new beau D.W. Silverton.
The couple sought the help of Lt. Wheeler who went to the depot to disarm Tracy but as Wheeler approached Tracy pulled his Colt .45 and fired four times, the third round hitting the ranger in the groin. Wheeler fired all five shot in his pistol and hit Tracy four times causing him to fall on his back.
“I’m done for, my gun is empty” Tracy said.
Wheeler, his pistol empty, walked towards the dying man who proceeded to fire twice more hitting the Ranger in the foot.
Unarmed, Wheeler started throwing rocks until Tracy collapsed either from loss of blood or shock at being pelted with stones.
“Well”, Wheeler said when it was over, “it was a great fight while it lasted, wasn’t it old man?”