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Las Vegas, Page 1

This is my first page of photos of the town of Las Vegas, New Mexico (NOT Nevada). Las Vegas was a wild and woolly town back in the late 1870s and 1880s. It seemed to have been the meeting place of just about every well-known man of the Old West. Such infamous men as Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, Bob Ford, Dick Liddel, Vicente Silva, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, and Ben Thompson visited this town. Although this town hasn't been as remembered like the towns of Tombstone, Dodge City, or Deadwood, it was probably the most dangerous of them all. Billy the Kid visited here often. It was the biggest town in San Miguel County at the time. It was filled with saloons, gambling houses, and dance halls. Billy attended the dances and gambled here very often. It was in this town that he probably met Jesse James as well.

On July 4, 1879, the first train, belonging to the New Mexico & Southern Pacific Railroad, arrived in Las Vegas. With the arrival of the railroad, a new part of Las Vegas quickly sprang up. This new part was called "New Town" or "East Las Vegas," while the original part of town was now known as "Old Town" or "West Las Vegsa." With the arrival of the train also came dozens upon dozens of killers, rustlers, robbers, gamblers, and theives. Most of them were well-known from various Kansas cattle towns. Among these men were Dirty Dave Rudabaugh, Mysterious Dave Mather, Dutch Henry Born, John J. Webb, Doc Holliday, and the worst of them all, Hyman G. Neill, alias Hoodoo Brown. All of these hard cases came to be known as "The Dodge City Gang." Hoodoo Brown, leader of the gang, became the local justice of the peace, and appointed several other gang members as law officials. For the next few months, the Dodge City Gang robbed trains, held up stage-coaches, murdered people, and generally caused trouble. The gang eventually ceased to exist in the spring of 1880 or so. After the gang was no more, two members, Dirty Dave Rudabaugh and Tom Pickett, went south to Fort Sumner, where they joined the Rustlers.

This photo shows a street of what was New Town. Up ahead in the photo is the old plaza. All or most of these buildings were there back in the 1880s.

This photo shows the same street, only going the opposite direction, with the plaza behind it.