Who are the men in the “mystery photo” that claims to feature some of the Old West’s most famous gunfighters at Hunter’s Hot Springs in Montana?
San Jose, California
I don’t think anybody has a clue who posed for the Hunter’s Hot Springs photo. The men were probably acquaintances at a social gathering or a reunion. Then someone decided to “identify” the men as celebrities. Nowadays, someone could plant people together into one photo using Photoshop. Such fakery is why provenance is so important when buying photographs.
Wild Bunch historian Dan Buck, who was alerted of the photo when someone identified one of the men as Butch Cassidy, noted: “The Hunter’s Hot Springs, Montana, group portrait has been knocking around for some years. It’s as authentic as the jackalope and as verifiable as the legend of the vanishing hitchhiker.”
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org