When Lawmen Got It Wrong

Location of the gunfight near Blackwell, Oklahoma.
Location of the gunfight near Blackwell, Oklahoma.

A gunfight outside Blackwell, Oklahoma just proved that lawmen didn’t always get the right man.

Outlaws Ben Craven and Dick Ainsley had been casing a bank there in December 1896. The law got suspicious and tracked them to a shack outside of town, where a gunfight broke out.  Ainsley died during the fight and Cravens was severely wounded.  Officers were disappointed at what they found, for they had believed Ainsley was really ex-Doolin Gang member Dynamite Dick Clifton.  The mistake cost them $3500 in reward money.

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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.