Did Bat Masterson actually have to use a cane after being shot by Sgt. Melvin King in 1876, or is this just part of the legend?

Did Bat Masterson actually have to use a cane after being shot by Sgt. Melvin King in 1876, or is this just part of the legend?

Rick Austin

East Alton, Illinois

Noted authority Bob DeArment, author of Bat Masterson: The Man and the Legend, tells me: “The story of Bat using a cane after his gunfight with King comes from Stuart Lake’s bio of Wyatt Earp. I’ve found no contemporary verification of that.

Later, as a professional gambler, he carried a cane as it was considered stylish at the time. Other notable gamblers, including Ben Thompson and Luke Short, did the same.”

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.