Old West Lifestyle & Stories

Ike Clanton

N. H. Clanton, better known as “Old Man” Clanton, was the leader of a band of outlaws that at one time numbered as many as 300 men. They operated in southeast Arizona. They were known to rustle Mexican cattle and rob a bullion train now and then. In 1881 a group of the clan headed by the Old Man robbed a bullion train in Guadalupe Canyon, killing 19 Mexicans in the process. A few weeks later the Old Man and 5 gang members were in turn ambushed and killed by friends of the murdered Mexicans.

With Old Man Clanton dead, one of his sons, Joseph Isaac Clanton, took over the business. “Ike” Clanton, as he was known around Tombstone, just didn’t have the grit. And although the gang was still known as “The Clantons”, the actual leader became Curly Bill Brocius.
But Ike was still around. He was like that fly that keeps landing on your face when you’re trying to catch a nap. With a feud between the Clantons and the Earps developing, Ike Clanton seemed to always be talking tough, but stopping just short of an actual fight.

True to his nature, when it came time for the big shootout, Ike refused to fight… and even though Wyatt fired at him several times, Ike escaped with only a slight neck wound. Later Ike supposedly masterminded the ambushes of Virgil and Morgan Earp.
After the Earp bunch left Tombstone Ike settled in northeast Arizona, where he continued his cattle rustling. But what Wyatt and Doc couldn’t do, a couple of novice deputies were able to accomplish, and on June 1, 1877 while being arrested, Ike Clanton finally pulled his gun and was shot dead.

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