Thursday, September 17, 2015

Old West Gunfights

I was surfing around this morning, bored at my duties and Googled for a list of Old West Gunfights.  I found this list over at Wikipedia.  I'm sure that it's not inclusive, but it's certainly illuminating.  Among the fights covered were the Hickock-Tutt fight which is considered to be the archetype of the gunfighter legend.And, of course, the gunfight at the OK Corral.

I started clicking on some other links and came upon The Frisco Shootout.  It's a short little article, and hard to excerpt, so I'm going to post it almost in it's entirety.  This gunfight may have set the record for elapsed time and rounds expended.
Shortly after the arrest was made, Baca was confronted by a large number of the cowboy's friends. Baca took refuge in the house of local resident Geronimo Armijo. An intense shootout ensued, during which the cowboys increased in number to around eighty men. Legend has it that the cowboys fired more than 4,000 rounds into the house, but there is little way of confirming just how many rounds were fired exactly. Baca was not wounded by any of the rounds fired, but did return fire killing four of the cowboys, and wounding eight others. The standoff ended when the cowboys were unable to acquire more ammunition. With their ammunition supply depleted, they simply withdrew. The fight had lasted thirty six hours.
A thirty-six hour gunfight.  The odds were 80:1.  4000 rounds expended.  The lawman was unharmed, but he accounted for four dead.
The cowboy that had been originally arrested by Baca served his time in jail for disturbing the peace and drunkenness, and was released. The cowboys pursued Baca through legal means, attempting to have him imprisoned for the killing of their four comrades. In May 1885, Baca was indicted for the killing of one of the men. However, when the door of Geronimo Armijo's house was introduced as evidence, having over four hundred bullet holes in it, Baca was acquitted. Baca went on to become a licensed attorney and a Deputy US Marshal.
 The list of gunfights is pretty interesting, but what I'm struck by is the trifling predicates that led to lethal outcomes.  Of course, today I'm surprised at the trifling circumstances that lead to fatal outcomes.


Old NFO said...

That is a time sink, but the Baca story is amazing!!!

Dave O. said...

Wow. That sherriff was really lucky.

Rod said...

I've reenacted many of those fights but what's funny is that, at the time, the 4 dead in 5 seconds fight was more famous than Tombstone. THAT only became famous after the bogus Stuart Lake biography in the 1930s. By the way, Earp thought El Paso was too tough a town and ran away.