Links to the Old West
The Old West Bibliography
The Old West of Billy the Kid
William Henry Roberts: AKA Billy the Kid
The Old West of Wyatt Earp
The Old West of John Wesley Hardin
The Old West of G. A. Custer
An Unforgetable Era
For all its glamour and glory, the era in American history known as the Old West lasted, in reality, for only about 30 years... roughly, from about the end of the Civil War in 1865, until about 1895. By that time, the Indians were all on reservations, the great cattle ranges had all been fenced, the notorious outlaws of the Old West were all either behind bars or dead, and the great lawmen who put them there were writing books about their brave and daring exploits. In so many ways, the end of an era in American history had come to pass. But it had been no ordinary era, its phenomenal influence on our culture extending well into and even beyond the 20th century.
March 19, 1848 - Wyatt Earp Born. Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp is born. He is the fourth son of Nicholas Porter and Virginia Cooksey Earp and was named after Nicholas' old army captain, Berry Stapp, whom he served under during the Mexican War.
June 25, 1876 - Battle of the Little Big Horn. George Armstrong Custer and approximately 200 men of the U.S. 7th Cavalry are annihilated at the Little Big Horn in Montana by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors under the leadership of Chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.
August 2, 1876 - Wild Bill Hickok Shot Dead! James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok is killed in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. He was shot in the back of the head by a man named Jack McCall while playing cards in Saloon No. 10 of this Black Hills mining town. The hand he was holding was a pair of aces and a pair of eights, forever after known as the "Dead Man's Hand."
April 28, 1881 - Billy the Kid's Daring Escape. In what is now considered the boldest escape in western history, Billy the Kid regains his freedom by killing deputies Bob Bell and Bob Olinger. The Kid was being held in the Lincoln County Courthouse in Lincoln, New Mexico pending his hanging which had been scheduled in the following month. It is suspected that he accomplished this daring by having someone slip him a revolver by hiding it in the outhouse in back of the courthouse. No one is really sure just how he got the weapon, but the fact is very well established that he did get it, and that he used it to good advantage in effecting his escape. He killed Bob Bell with this revolver. Deputy Bob Olinger was just finishing breakfast in the hotel's diner at the time and, when he heard the shots that killed Bell, came running across the street to investigate. He was almost across when he stopped to look up at a second story window to see Billy the Kid sitting in it with Olinger's own shotgun, aimed right at him. It was the last thing on this earth that Olinger ever saw. The Kid let go with both barrels, riddling Olinger with more than two dozen buckshot. He was dead when he hit the ground and Billy the Kid was once again a free man.
July14, 1881 - Billy the Kid Killed? In a shootout around midnight at the home of Pete Maxwell in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, Sheriff Pat Garrett shot a man who he alleged to be Billy the Kid. But William Henry Roberts, who died of old age in Hico, Texas in 1950, tells a different story. He claimed to be none other than Billy the Kid himself and presented some mighty convincing evidence to back up his claim. Click on the links, then return to the "Hico, Texas Legend Poll" on the Billy the Kid page to add your two cents to this hot historical debate.
October 26, 1881 - Gunfight "Near" the OK Corral. In what is now known as the Gunfight "Near" the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, the three "fighting" Earps (Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan) and Doc Holliday shoot it out with the cowboy faction in this Old West silver camp in what is now regarded as the West's most celebrated gunfight. Outcome: three cowboys dead, two Earps wounded. Doc Holliday was nicked by a shot. The Earps and Holliday are exonerated of the killings in a subsequent trial, but are forced to leave Arizona Territory because of the vengeance of the cowboy faction.
November 8, 1887 - Doc Holliday Dies Peacefully. At about ten o'clock in the morning, John Henry "Doc" Holliday dies at the Hotel Glenwood in Glenwood Springs, Colorado of miliary tuberculosis. He was buried near Palmer Avenue and Twelfth Street in the Linwood Cemetery that afternoon at four o'clock, at a service attended by many friends. Big Nose Kate arranged for the eulogy to be delivered by the Reverend W. S. Rudolph of the Presbyterian Church.
October 5, 1892 - The Dalton Gang Goes Down at Coffeeville. The Dalton gang is wiped out by the citizenry of this small Kansas town when the gang attempts the simultaneous robbery of two of its banks. They had put on fake beards upon coming into the town, but they were so well known in Coffeeville, a town they had grown up in, that someone recognized them through the disquises and shouted an alarm. Immediately, nearly every able bodied man in town grabbed a rifle or revolver and commenced to firing on the Daltons. The gang was literally shot to rag dolls. The Daltons were one of the last of the great outlaw gangs of the Old West, and their downfall marked the passing of an era in outlaw history. Never again would a horseback-mounted band of outlaws attempt such a bold and brazen act of outlawry in the American West.
September 1, 1893 - The Gunfight at Ingalls. A large posse led by John Hixon and including such members as Jim Masterson, Dick Speed, Lafe Shadley, and Tom Houston attempt a surprise attack on the Doolin Gang in Ingalls, a shabby and remote excuse for a town in Oklahoma Territory. The attempt to surprise the outlaws was foiled and what then insued has become one of the most celebrated shootouts in Old West history, rivaling in notoriety the one in Tombstone at the OK Corral 12 years earlier. Outcome: three lawmen killed, two outlaws wounded. All the outlaws, except for "Arkansas" Tom Daugherty, escaped. Arkansas Tom held officers at bay from a position of concealment in an attic of the town's "cat house" while his outlaw comrades made good their escape. He was captured by the posse after ammunition for his Winchester and revolvers had given out.
April 5, 1895 - John Selman Killed. John Selman, the killer of John Wesley Hardin who perhaps killed 40 men in his lifetime, is shot and killed in an El Paso alley by George Scarborough.
May 4, 1895 - Doolin Gang Train Robbery. The Bill Doolin gang robs a Rock Island train near Dover, Oklahoma Territory, taking several thousand dollars from the express car and passengers.
What! A quiz? Betcha hadn't figured on that. Relax.... this one is fun and easy. It's an "open webpage" quiz. All of the answers can be found on this page or on pages linked directly from it (a bigger clue: most of them are on this page). So, go ahead and have some fun. You just might even learn something. On the other hand, maybe you're the brave and confident type. If so, then go ahead and take the quiz without looking at the answers. If you score 70% or better this way, then consider yourself an expert and give yourself a pat on the back. Either way, it's a lot of fun. So, go ahead and enjoy yourself. Take my Old West History Trivia Quiz.
E-mail it to the Old West Answer Man. He's a virtual walking encyclopedia on Old West trivia. And even in the rare event that he doesn't know the answer to your question, he knows where to find it in his extensive personal library of Old West history. So, go ahead--give him a try! Ask the Old West Answer Man!