“Big Ed” Burns

leadville colorado true west

“Big Ed” Burns was a con man of the first order, roaming the Midwest and West from the 1860s until around 1920.

In 1877, he was head of a bunco gang in Chicago.  Within a few years, he’d moved his operation to Leadville, CO (photo) where he pretty much ran the town until vigilantes forced him out.  He also went to Tombstone, where—depending on your point of view—was an enemy or pal of the Earps and Doc Holliday.

“Big Ed” later became a member of Soapy Smith’s gang in Denver.

What do you think?

Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine as well as the editor of The Tombstone Epitaph. He also serves as pastor for Poplar Grove United Methodist Church in Indiana.