Some of the mythical gunmen of the outdated West have been lawmen, yet extra, like Billy the child and Jesse James, have been outlaws. Tom Horn (1860–1903) used to be either. Lawman, soldier, employed gunman, detective, outlaw, and murderer, this darkly enigmatic determine has interested americans ever on account that his demise through placing the day earlier than his forty-third birthday. during this masterful ancient biography, Larry Ball, a distinctive historian of western lawmen and outlaws, provides the definitive account of Horn’s career.
Horn turned a civilian within the Apache wars whilst he was once nonetheless in his early twenties. He fought within the final significant conflict with the Apaches on U.S. soil and chased the Indians into Mexico with normal George criminal. He bragged approximately murdering renegades, and the brutality of his method of legislations and order foreshadows his debatable occupation as a Pinkerton detective and his trial for homicide in Wyoming. Having labored as a employed gun and a variety detective within the years after the Johnson County conflict, he was once ultimately attempted and hanged for killing a fourteen-year-old boy. Horn’s guilt remains to be debated.
To an volume no past pupil has controlled to accomplish, Ball distinguishes the reality approximately Horn from the varied legends. either the proof and their distortions are revealing, particularly given that such a lot of of the untruths come from Horn’s personal autobiography. As a teller of tall stories, Horn burnished his personal popularity all through his lifestyles. even with his providers as a civilian scout and packer, his habit worried even his lawless partners. even though a few writers have attempted to raise him to the pinnacle rung of frontier gun wielders, questions nonetheless shadow Horn’s reputation.
Ball’s research concludes with a survey of Horn as defined by way of historians, novelists, and screenwriters because his personal time. those portrayals, as combined because the evidence on which they're dependent, exhibit a continuous fascination with the lifestyles and legend of Tom Horn.