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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Hired Gun Tom Horn - #TidbitThursday


Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. I caught an interesting show on Tom Horn in an episode of the "Cowboys and Outlaws" series and wanted to share some of the tidbits I gleaned from it here.

Tom Horn was born in 1860 in Missouri and started his career as a cowboy.

He left home at age 13 working odd jobs such as night livestock drover and then managed herds for the U.S. Army in Arizona. He was also a skilled tracker.

At age 26, he became the Chief of Scouts in Arizona during the Apache Wars and was part of the posse to capture Geronimo.

At age 28, he became a rodeo star.

He joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency to chase outalws. He would hunt men for months.

At some point, he began to kill men instead of arresting them, becoming something of a hired gun. Men in Wyoming were willing to pay more for him to kill cattle rustlers.

August 1895, he is arrested for the murder of a homesteader, William Lewis, but his backer, one of the cattle barons, hires the best lawyers to get him cleared.

A secret cattle baron group forms with the goal to eliminate two known cattle rustlers operating in Colorado. Tom would earn about $600 for each murder (in today's money that would be about $15,000 each)

Tom Horn was convicted in 1902 of murdering a 14 year old boy (Willie Nickell) the son of a sheep rancher involved in a range dispute with cattle ranchers. Tom was hung in Cheyenne, Wyoming a day before his 43rd birthday. It's believed during his stint as a hired gun that he killed at least 17 people.

"Cowboys and Outlaws" video series - "Frontier Hitman (Tom Horn)" episode

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