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Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / State & Local / Southwest (AZ, NM, OK, TX)
  • Language:English
  • Pages:224

Duels, Gunfights and Shoot-Outs

Wild Tales from the Land of Enchantment

by Don Bullis

Book Image Not Available
Overview

New Mexico, like all states and territories in the American West, has had its share of violence over the years, particularly between the time of the American Occupation in 1846 and statehood in 1912. It didn’t end then, of course, and these pages record violent events that occurred as recently as the beginning of the 20th century’s third quarter. Too often, fights resulting in death were nugatory in nature: a dispute over a flock of turkeys, a drunken revelry, one man’s personal dislike of another, petty theft. Other fights were far more important: peace officers killed as they performed their duties, criminals shot down as they assaulted society in one way or another. Here are a few examples: • Train robbers outgun lawmen and kill three peace officers in one fight • A deputy sheriff, drunk, picks a fight with the wrong store clerk; shot dead in the street • One gang of cattle thieves attacks another outlaw gang and kills three men in the fight • One man’s shooting spree results in the death of a deputy, a judge and two others: lynched • A State Police officer murdered from ambush, for no good reason • A husband and wife go for their guns, and both end up dead. There is nothing glorious or romantic about any of this: violence is ugly and unpleasant in every case. These were real people, sometimes cowardly in their demeanor, sometimes brave, and even heroic. Some died with their boots on; others did not. The common denominator was that more often than not, once the gun smoke cleared away, it became clear that someone was badly wounded, dying, or dead. Violence, it is said, results when attempts at civility have failed, but the fact is that more often than not, the attempt is not made.

Description

New Mexico, like all states and territories in the American West, has had its share of violence over the years, particularly between the time of the American Occupation in 1846 and statehood in 1912. It didn’t end then, of course, and these pages record violent events that occurred as recently as the beginning of the 20th century’s third quarter. Too often, fights resulting in death were nugatory in nature: a dispute over a flock of turkeys, a drunken revelry, one man’s personal dislike of another, petty theft. Other fights were far more important: peace officers killed as they performed their duties, criminals shot down as they assaulted society in one way or another. Here are a few examples: • Train robbers outgun lawmen and kill three peace officers in one fight • A deputy sheriff, drunk, picks a fight with the wrong store clerk; shot dead in the street • One gang of cattle thieves attacks another outlaw gang and kills three men in the fight • One man’s shooting spree results in the death of a deputy, a judge and two others: lynched • A State Police officer murdered from ambush, for no good reason • A husband and wife go for their guns, and both end up dead. There is nothing glorious or romantic about any of this: violence is ugly and unpleasant in every case. These were real people, sometimes cowardly in their demeanor, sometimes brave, and even heroic. Some died with their boots on; others did not. The common denominator was that more often than not, once the gun smoke cleared away, it became clear that someone was badly wounded, dying, or dead. Violence, it is said, results when attempts at civility have failed, but the fact is that more often than not, the attempt is not made.

About the author

Don Bullis is the author of eight non-fiction books and two novels, including The Old West Trivia Book (2009), New Mexico’s Finest: Peace Officers Killed in the Line of Duty, 1847-2010 (2010), Bloodville (2002), 99 New Mexicans ... and a few other folks (2005), and Bull’s Eye (2006). The New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary is the precursor of this book.Volumes I and II (2006 and 2007) of the Biographical Dictionary have received nine awards/honors, including the Historical Society of New Mexico’s Lansing B. Bloom Award (2009), as well as first place awards in the New Mexico Book Awards (2007 and 2008), New Mexico Press Women Awards (2007), and the 2007 Notable Book from the Southwest Books of the Year. Other honors have come from National Best Books Awards, INDIE Excellence Awards, and IPPY Book Awards. His New Mexico Historical Biographies won the Eric Hoffer Award for Best Reference Book in 2013.

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