Old West Lifestyle & Stories


Richardson-LovingGunfights in the Old West were usually caused by one of three reasons…women, gambling and revenge.  As we shall see, one of Dodge City’s most famous gunfights was over a woman.

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 having 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 empted them.  The amazing thing about the gunfight was that with led flying everywhere in a crowded room, no bystander was hit.

If you want to learn about more gunfights as they really happened go to www.ChronicleoftheOldWest.com and check out Dakota’s gunfight CD.

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