Old West Lifestyle & Stories

King Fisher and Ben Thompson Killed Together

Although it wasn’t a relationship most people would expect, King Fisher and Ben Thompson were friends. The reason their friendship was unusual was that both men were hard cases.
King Fisher dressed in a flamboyant style. He wore a gold braided sombrero, silk shirts and gold-embroidered vests. His chaps were made of Bengal tiger skin. He didn’t get the tiger skin from a safari, but a raid on a circus.
Fisher traded in cattle. He took cattle that he had stolen in the United States to Mexico, and traded them for cattle that had been stolen in Mexico… And buyers didn’t care as long as the cattle didn’t have a brand from the country in which it was sold.
Ben Thompson’s reputation wasn’t much better. Ben didn’t care on which side of the law he walked, as long as he could use his pistol and intimidate people. Sensing the opportunity for a good fight, he even went to Mexico and joined Maximilian as a mercenary, rising to the rank of Colonel. Ben Thompson had also spent time as the city marshal of Austin, Texas.
These two hot heads met up in San Antonio on March 10, 1884, and decided to have an evening out. Celebrating, as friends do, they ended up going to the Vaudeville Variety Theater. Maybe because of too many drinks, or advancing age, Ben Thompson evidently didn’t remember that a couple of years earlier he had killed the proprietor of that establishment. Within minutes of their arrival four of the dead man’s friends, including the bartender and one of the actors, opened fire. Ben Thompson ended up with 9 slugs in him, and his friend King Fisher had 13. It was a tough night out for the boys.
Stephen Austin

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