Old West Myth & Fact Archives

First Photo Of A Crime In Progress

Anton Veith was a Milwaukee newspaper editor traveling out West. On August 15, 1900, he was on a stage on its way to Yosemite. Carrying on idle conversation with fellow passengers, Anton asked them what they would do in the case of a holdup, and they had their entire fortune on them. One said he would give it up; he could make another fortune, but didn’t have another life. Another said that a bullet didn’t always hit its mark, and he would run the other way.
A little later that day the stage pulled to a stop, and Anton heard a voice say, “Get Down!” It was a holdup. The robber had a gun slung over his shoulder, and a pistol in his hand. No one on the stage had a gun, not even the driver and guard. Anton said the robber was careless, and on several instances, he felt he could jump him, but no one else was willing to help.
The robber was kind to the women, allowing them to stay in the stage. And most of the men were able to hide some of their money and valuables. The robber even gave Anton back his heirloom pocket watch.
Anton had his camera with him, and he brazenly asked the robber if he could take a picture of the robbery in progress. Amazingly, the robber agreed. The picture Anton took shows the robber, gun in hand, and the male passengers all in a line. Following the picture, the robber had everyone load up and told the stage to drive off.
A copy of the picture was turned over to the legal authorities. But, despite the picture, and an extensive hunt for the robber, as happens many times today, he was never found.

Teton Jackson – Killer

  Harvey Gleason was over six feet tall. He had a shabby beard, ruddy face with flaming red hair and black eyes. By his mid 40s, he had supposedly killed several soldiers and deputy marshals.

   But, people didn’t know him as Harvey Gleason, everyone knew him as Teton Jackson. He got his name from his favorite area, the Teton Mountains. For a living Teton Jackson stole horses… Not one or two at a time, but hundreds. For about eight years, Teton and his men stole horses during the summer and hid out among the Teton Mountains during the winter.

    While in Eagle Rock, Idaho, Teton killed a man. When the sheriff came to investigate the shooting, he found the victim frozen stiff on the ground. Needing evidence of the killing, and unable to transport the whole body, the sheriff brought in just the head.
Finally, livestock associations in Idaho and Wyoming started putting up rewards for Teton.  And, money talked.  A sheriff found Teton, and brought him in.  He was tried and on November 5, 1885, sentenced to 14 years in prison.  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.  But, relief was short lived.  For nine months later, Teton escaped from jail.  Even though Teton was free for two years before he was recaptured, few horses were stolen because his gang’s numbers were drastically reduced by posse bullets and jail.
   After four years in jail, Teton received a pardon for good behavior. He continued that good behavior for the next 35 years, marring a Shoshone woman, and doing some guiding, always riding a horse with his brand on it.


Dodge City’s Most Famous Gunfight

Levi Richardson was a buffalo hunter who, because of the lack of buffalo, had become a freighter. He was a well-liked, hard working individual who was known for his proficiency with a pistol and rifle… As well as a quick temper.

Frank Loving, also known as “Cock-eyed” Frank because his eyes tended to look toward each other, was an ex-cowboy turned gambler. Loving, unlike Richardson, was known to be cool, with a steady nerve. Both men were spending some time in Dodge City, Kansas.
Now comes the catalyst… a woman. It seems that Levi Richardson fell in love with a young woman. Unfortunately, for him, she loved another. And, that person was none other than Cock-eyed Frank Loving.
It was about 8:00 Saturday evening, April 5, 1879. Richardson was warming himself at the potbelly stove in the Long Branch Saloon, when Loving came in and took a seat at one of the gambling tables. Richardson followed him to the table. A few, less than genteel, words were exchanged. With both men standing face to face, Richardson went for his gun. He pulled off a shot as Loving was drawing his pistol. Loving’s first shot misfired. Seeking cover, Loving ran behind the potbelly stove. But Richardson was right behind him taking two more shots.
Fortunately, for Loving, after that first misfire, his gun performed flawlessly. Using cool deliberation, Loving shot Richardson in the chest, side and arm. He died on the spot. Loving, on the other hand, suffered only a scratch on the hand. After the smoke settled, both guns were checked. In the fracas, both men had emptied them. The amazing thing about the gunfight was that with lead flying everywhere in a crowded room, no bystander was hit.

Poker Alice

Born in England, Alice Ivers was educated in a female seminary. She came to the United States and eventually settled down in Colorado where she married Frank Duffield, a mining engineer.
Frank enjoyed playing poker, and Alice went with him and watched. Sometimes, when Frank was at work, Alice would sit in on games. When her husband was killed in a mine explosion Alice turned to cards full time. She did so well that soon the miners were calling her “Poker Alice.”
In Silver City, New Mexico she “broke the bank.” Feeling flush, she headed to New York and proceeded to spend it all.

She returned to Colorado and worked for Bob Ford, the person who shot Jessie James… That is, until Ed Kelly killed him.

Poker Alice always dressed like a lady; even though she was constantly puffing on a cigar. Like most gamblers, Alice carried a pistol, and she wasn’t afraid to use it either. One night a drunken miner pulled a knife on the dealer at the next table. Alice shot the miner. Poker Alice ended up marrying the man whose life she saved. Later, when she owned her own establishment, she shot and killed a trouble-making customer.
 At one point she owned a sheep ranch. Busy gambling, she hired George Huckert to tend the sheep. When George’s unpaid wages got to be over a thousand dollars, Poker Alice married him, because “It would be cheaper to marry him than pay him off.”
At the age of 79 on February 27, 1930, Poker Alice died. Even though she gambled all her adult life; married three times; killed a man; smoked cigars constantly; and ran a combination gambling and whorehouse, Poker Alice’s early religious upbringing stayed with her, because she never gambled on Sunday, and when she owned establishments of her own, they were closed on Sunday.


GamblersMen who came out west gambled everything on the hopes of becoming prosperous and having a good life. That same spirit led them into gambling halls, and games of chance. One such game started on June 15, 1853 and ended 24 years later.

For people of the Old West gambling was a way of life. They risked their life by going into Indian Territory for furs, precious metal or land. They staked everything they owned on a herd of cattle being driven north. And for sure they enjoyed a game of chance.

There was faro, euchre, monte, casino, and, of course, poker…which, incidentally, was always dealt to the left of the player to make it easier to pull a gun with the right hand in case of irregularities. The origin of most games of chance came from Europe, with the exception of the old three walnuts and a pea, which started in America, probably on the streets of New York, where it still prospers.

Not only did cowboys loose their wages, but whole herds of cattle, and a cattleman’s entire wealth would change hands over night. A few wives were even offered to “match the pot.”

On June 15, 1853, in Austin, Texas Major Danelson and Mr. Morgan sat down to play poker, and evidentially with little to go home to, forgot to quit. The game went on for a week… then a month… a year became years. The Civil War broke out, was fought and lost, but these two Texas gentlemen still dealt the cards. Finally in 1872, 19 years after it started, both men died on the same day…but the game continued. Their two sons took over, and played for 5 more years.

Finally the game ended in 1877 when a railroad train killed one of the sons, and the other went crazy. Not that all of them weren’t crazy in the first place.

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