You’ve heard of Calamity Jane, Ethel “Etta” Place and Belle Starr. But what about Flora Quick? This mysterious horse thief said to have ridden with the bands of notorious Oklahoma-Indian Territory outlaws was also known at various times as Flora Mundis and China Dot. However, she’s best known as Tom King. There’s a lot of fiction mixed with fact in her story.
Flo was the daughter of a wealthy farmer who died when she was fifteen leaving her an orphan with an estate of 2,300 acres and $13,000 in cash. She married a lowlife named Ora Mundis who was only after her newfound wealth. When the money ran out so did he so she took to turning tricks, dressing like a man, stealing horses and calling herself Tom King. She became friends with a like-minded woman named Jessie Whitewings aka Ed Bullock. The two opened a brothel in Guthrie where they traded their services for both money and horses. (You can’t make this stuff up). Despite the tall tales of murder and robbing trains it seems Flora’s crimes were no more serious than horse theft. She did know good horses and stole only the best.
She first appeared in a Guthrie newspaper article that reported her sitting in an Oklahoma City jail, dressed in men’s clothing, on a charge of horse stealing. While locked up she took up with a train robber named Ernie Lewis and a rapist named Billy Roach. She seduced her guard then locked him in the cell and then released her new friends. At the time eighteen-year-old she was described as 4’8” tall and weighing about 130 pounds. Flo was captured and returned to jail but soon escaped again. She was caught and returned to jail but the next day she broke jail again. One newspaper story had her eloping with a deputy sheriff and another said she was pregnant and was released from jail because of her “delicate condition.”
Flo headed west to Arizona and ended up in the rowdy mining town of Clifton where she took up with a Chinese man and began calling herself China Dot. She grew tired of him and hooked up with a man named Bill Garland. In late January, 1903 the two were high on opium and quarreling when he shot her four times, then took his own life.