Was John Wesley Hardin as deadly and fast to shoot as folks claim?

Ask The Marshall

Was John Wesley Hardin as deadly and fast to shoot as folks claim?

Ronald Bolza
Slatington, Pennsylvania

Many Old West experts position John Wesley Hardin as the greatest and most notorious of all Texas gunmen—maybe of all the gunfighters, period.

In  his storied career, Hardin killed between 12 and 40 men. Newspapers of the day attributed 27 killings to him. He worked hours practicing to keep his edge, both in speed and accuracy. So, yep, Hardin was fast and deadly, and didn’t hesitate to kill. That lifestyle is hard to square with his teaching school and Bible studies.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian, board president of the Arizona Historical Society and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book isArizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015.

If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu

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