On September 25, 1867 pioneering cattleman Oliver Loving died from gangrene poisoning in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Living had been attacked by 500 Comanche at the Pecos River. Although he managed to escape and reach Fort Sumner, he had been shot in the arm and leg. Loving soon developed gangrene in his arm, a common infection in those days. Even then he might still have been saved had his arm been removed, unfortunately the fort doctor had never amputated any limbs and didn’t want to undertake such work.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because the lives of Oliver Loving and his partner, Charles Goodnight, were portrayed in the movie Lonesome Dove. Robert Duvall played Gus, a takeoff of Oliver Loving.

Filed under: Old West History

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