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Ben Harleman
Shooting at prospectors
Mon Nov 13, 2017 14:42

In one of the many enjoyable Curly Bill exchanges going on, one of the claims is that Wyatt and his riders never came across the cowboys at Iron/Mescal Springs, but instead it was a group of prospectors. Taking a step back from the various sides of evidence and looking at a simple matter of plausability, I have a hard time reasoning why Wyatt and friends would cover up a misfire on innocents with a claim as significant as the alleged shooting, and especially as monumental as the death of Curly Bill.

Love him or hate him, Wyatt was not stupid, and if he isn't considered the brightest he can still be widely considered crafty. So it makes little sense to cover up a mishap with such a big tale that would be sure to be discussed, reviewed, and investigated. Why would the group not just say they came across some hodge-podge of cowboys, had a skirmish, and called it a day, if in fact, it wasn't Curly Bill and a band of ne'er do wells?

It seems like inviting chaos to make up such an alleged big story off of such an embarrassing alleged gunfight. Has this been discussed before, and can anyone enlighten me?

    • I think you make an excellent pointTom Gaumer, Thu Nov 30 10:47
      Ben I once was giving a couple tips to this guy named Larry Hunter about how to lie better. Don't tell a lie that can be checked easily. Even better don't tell a lie that can be checked at all. Don't ... more
    • Those damn prospectors . . .Lynn R. Bailey, Tue Nov 14 05:38
      Thanks Ben for bringing up the prospectors. It is a topic discussed on this board, but here it is again. On April 6th the Arizona Weekly Star asserted that at Mescal Springs “the Earp party had fired ... more
      • More miningBen Harleman, Tue Nov 14 14:32
        Thank you for the thorough response; I certainly now have a much better understanding of this encounter than I had before. It is certainly a compelling argument, and as you point out, it has strong... more
        • Re: More miningBob Cash, Tue Nov 14 15:04
          Whether Wyatt Killed Curly or not, many of the vendetta posse's financial backers, such as E. B. Gage and Henry Hooker, appeared to believe he did well into the twentieth century. If they knew about... more
          • What do you mean, Bob Cash?K.t.K., Tue Nov 14 17:04
            In reference to Henry Hooker, how was he a financial backer. Are you referring to the $1,000 he paid Wyatt for killing Curly Bill? The Nugget of March 31, 1882 reported on this, and called it "the... more
            • Re: What do you mean, Bob Cash?Bob Cash, Tue Nov 14 18:43
              Actually, I think he and Wyatt denied any transaction, except for replacing Texas Jack's horse, and you know if Wyatt said it it must be true. In addition you know a legitimate cattleman like Hooker... more
              • legitamate cattlemenK.t.K., Tue Nov 14 21:07
                I would dislike having to define 'legitimate cattlemen' anywhere in the southwest territories in those days. Worldly wisdom bespeaks that behind every great fortune lies a secret crime. Hooker and... more
      • the corroboration of the miners?bfrey, Tue Nov 14 11:19
        Interesting view of the shootout, did anyone else verify the claim by the sheriff, Hereford? I would think if those miners were prominent in the territory their story would be told that they were... more
        • bfrey & anonymous . . .Lynn R. Bailey, Wed Nov 29 14:01
          the answer to the question lies in the way prospectors operate.
          • how do prospectors operate?bfrey, Thu Nov 30 07:26
            I am curious what kind of culture or code they would follow not to talk about the gunfight? Keeping secrets as in claims or mining information? thanks
            • How do prospectors operate?Lynn R. Bailey, Thu Nov 30 08:17
              With great secrecy. The surest way to get your claim jumped is to publicize what you are doing in the field. You can bet that Hereford’s account infuriated Dan Murphy and his associates.
              • thanks...bfrey, Thu Nov 30 09:22
                After the claim was up, and the area where it occurred was done with, I would think they would like to have told this story? Seems like a lot of time went by and other accounts could of been... more
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