CowboySpirit.TV - Today's installment of old west history includes a number of notable lasts: the last James Gang train job, the last gold rush, and the end of an independent Texas Rangers.
1880: Even holy matrimony was a bit rougher in the old west town of Tombstone. On this day, "Buckskin Frank" Leslie, a figure of some ill-repute, married Mary Killeen exactly two weeks after widowing her. In fairness to Leslie, her very ex-husband shot first, and without warning, upon seeing them sitting together at a hotel.
1881: What is believed to be Jesse James' final train robbery happened today, in which the few remaining members of the James Gang piled timber on the tracks near Blue Cut, Missouri, to stop a train. The old west outlaws only got $1,500 from the heist.
1850: Today, Fort Atkinson, Kansas, was established as the first official army fort in the middle of the Santa Fe trail, in the heart of Indian territory. Don't look for it today, however. Due to its rapid construction, "Fort Sod" was abandoned just four years later.
1887: On this day, young Harry Alonzo Longabaugh was convicted of stealing a saddled horse, along with a gun, from a ranch in Sundance, Wyoming. It was during his resulting 18-month prison stint that he would pick up the nickname he'd be remembered for: The Sundance Kid.
1935: Today marks the end of an era. On this day, the legendary old west crime fighters, the Texas Rangers, were officially folded into the Texas State Highway Patrol after a century of service that dated back to the Texas Republic. The Ranger division still exists to this day, continuing to hunt outlaws across the vast lands of Texas.
1871: Showing that in the old west there was a fine line between outlaw and lawman, two members of the police in Newton, Kansas, got involved in a fatal gunfight. An argument between Billy Bailey and Mike McCluskey over who would buy the next round of drinks ended with Bailey dead and McCluskey a fugitive.
1896: On this day, gold was discovered in the Klondike River, sparking off the Yukon Gold Rush, the last of the great gold rushes. Of an estimated 100,000 potential prospectors, only about 30,000 actually made it to the Yukon alive, and only around 4,000 actually struck gold.
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