Tom Horn’s Fatal Mistake?

Tom Horn Kels Nickell true west
Kels Nickell (left) Tom Horn (right).

Tom Horn was hanged for the murder of teenage Willie Nickell.  The theory: Horn mistook the boy for his father, Kels.

Kels Nickell was a hot-headed sheep rancher who ran afoul of many other residents of the region. Two weeks after Willie died, Kels was shot and wounded and many of his flock were also killed. Neighbor Jim Miller and two of his boys—who were in an intense feud with the Nickells–were arrested but never tried. There is a theory that one of the Millers was the actual killer of Willie Nickell.

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