The Days That Communities Fought Back Against Evil

There’s no shortage of stories about crime and criminals on the nightly news, these days. It seems we’re currently trapped in a cycle of violent criminal activity, with the bad guys holding communities all over our nation, hostage.

We’ve seen this problem before in America, especially during that span of time from the “Old West” through the Great Depression, which was filled with criminal activity. In the early part of that era, the crooks rode horses, but by the time it was over, they were driving cars to make their getaways.

A number of those crooks didn’t get away, however, because armed citizens banded together to fight them. Instead of suffering these crimes as helpless victims, whole communities rose up to fight and stop the criminals.

RevolverGuy readers probably recall some famous examples of this, like the James Gang’s defeat in Northfield, Minnesota, and the Dalton Gang’s defeat in Coffeyville, Kansas, but there were others. With crime exploding all around us today, it’s probably a good time to look back at some of those examples from our past, and remember a time when Americans didn’t put up with this kind of nonsense.

A Falling Starr

Henry Starr was born in 1873 at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory (I.T.). He was distantly related to Sam Starr, the husband of the notorious Belle Starr. He became a cowboy at an early age, but soon the lure of easy money took over and he was arrested for introducing liquor to the I.T.

Henry Starr in his younger years.

His next crime was the robbery of the Nowata, I.T. Railroad Depot. He was arrested, jailed at the Federal Jail in Fort Smith, and then released on bail. He then failed to show up for court.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Floyd Wilson, who held a warrant for Starr’s arrest, found him in December 1892 near Lenapah, I.T. Wilson was chasing Starr on horseback, when Starr shot and wounded him. As Wilson lay on the ground, Starr walked up and shot him in the heart, killing him.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Floyd Wilson.

Starr later rounded up some like-minded individuals to try his hand at bank and train robbery.

The Bentonville People’s Bank

Bentonville, Arkansas is located in the northwest corner of the state. You may know it as the home of an institution most of us shop at, Walmart. The community, in fact all of northwest Arkansas, is booming with growth and progress at the moment.1

But in 1893, Bentonville was a small county seat town with, for the most part, a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. On June 5th, however, that atmosphere was rudely shattered by a band of criminals robbing the People’s Bank.

People’s Bank, Bentonville, Arkansas.

On that fateful day, six men left Indian Territory (I.T.) and rode the fifteen or so miles to Bentonville. When they arrived, gang leader Henry Starr met the band of men and they parked their horses in an alley downtown. The editor of the Benton County Sun Newspaper saw the men walk by the window of his building and thought it odd they were all carrying Winchester rifles. He raised the alarm and it began to spread.

Meanwhile, the bandits entered the People’s Bank, leaving one man on the steps at the front door as a lookout. They proceeded to announce the holdup and forced the employees to empty all the gold and currency into one bag, and the silver in another. At that moment, a shot was fired by the horse holder in the alley, at a curious citizen. That sped up the alarm and the citizens were grabbing their guns to respond to the emergency.

The outlaw on the front steps began exchanging shots with the citizenry, and he was wounded (the building’s facade still bears bullet strikes, from the exchange). The city marshal managed to wound another outlaw.

As the robbers fled and passed in front of the newspaper office again, a brave young lady opened the door and pulled bank cashier, George Jackson (who was being forced to carry the bag of silver for the bandits), into the office and locked the door. Jackson had been wounded three times, so Miss Maggie Woods probably saved his life with her action.

The bandits fled, some bleeding, and headed to I.T. in haste. They were soon followed by a posse led by the Sheriff of Benton County, Pierce Galbraith. Shots were exchanged between hunters and hunted until darkness forced the posse to give up the chase. The Starr band had had enough of Bentonville and its brave citizens.

More later, on Henry.

Doolin and The Daltons

Bill Doolin was born in Johnson County, Arkansas in 1858, and at around age 24, he drifted west following the trade of a cowboy. After working in Kansas and the Oklahoma and Indian Territories for a while, he fell in with the Dalton Gang.

That gang’s name comes from three brothers who tried to follow their older brother, Frank Dalton, into federal law enforcement, where he served as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. Frank was killed in the line of duty in I.T., in 1887. When you visit the U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, you’ll find Frank’s name on the wall of the fallen. Turn around, and as you gaze across the Arkansas River, you’ll be looking at the general area where he was killed. The brothers turned to crime because being one of the good guys didn’t pay enough.

Four dead bank robbers from the failed Coffeyville job.

After an active outlaw career, the Daltons tried to rob two banks at one time in Coffeyville, Kansas, on October 5, 1892. The good citizens of Coffeyville objected with gunfire, and Bob and Grat Dalton, along with gang members Bill Powers and Dick Broadwell, were killed. Emmet Dalton was seriously wounded. Unfortunately, three brave citizens and City Marshal Charles Connelly were also killed in the gunfight.

The Doolin Gang

Bill Doolin, for some reason, was not present at Coffeyville that day. What did he do with himself? He formed his own gang and continued in crime.

After several crimes by the Doolin Gang, the U.S. Marshals found information that the members of the gang were resting up in Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory (O.T.). On the first day of September 1893, thirteen U.S. Marshals drove into Ingalls in two covered wagons (the old Trojan horse trick). As the Deputy Marshals got into position, one of the gang members riding down the street spotted the activity and the gunfight began. When it was over, Deputy U. S. Marshals Lafe Shadley, Thomas Hueston, and Richard Speed were dead, and three others lay wounded. Three of the outlaws sustained wounds as they fled.

Lafayette Shadley, Deputy US Marshal, Chief of Osage Indian Police, former Montgomery County, Kansas, Deputy Sheriff, killed in the Battle of Ingalls O.T., with the Doolin gang, on September 1, 1893.
Tom Hueston, Deputy U.S. Marshal, and Constable, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, killed in the Battle of Ingalls O.T., with the Doolin gang, on September 1, 1893.
Richard Speed, Deputy U.S. Marshal, and City Marshal in Perkins, Oklahoma Territory, killed in the Battle of Ingalls O.T., with the Doolin gang, on September 1, 1893.

One gang member, Roy Daugherty (alias “Arkansas Tom”), had been feeling poorly and was resting in an upper floor of the hotel when the battle began. He woke and began raining fire down on the Marshals. Although he was sentenced to 50 years in the Kansas prison (there were no prisons in the Territories yet), he was released early, in 1910, and was soon back at the “gimme the money” game. From horseback to automobiles, Colt Single Actions to “autermatics,” he finally died of gunshots in a battle with Joplin, Missouri Police on August 16, 1924.

Roy “Arkansas Tom” Daugherty

When the gang licked their wounds and picked up new members, they decided to rob the bank in Southwest City, Missouri, where the state boundaries of Missouri and Arkansas joined Indian Territory.

Street scene, Southwest City, Missouri.

On May 10th of 1894, the gang of seven members rode into the town at 3:30 p.m. Three went into the bank, and the other four spread out along the street to provide cover. They soon began firing, trying to drive all the citizens off the street.

The trio in the bank ran out to their horses, only to find citizens from all over town were firing at them. A former state senator was shot and mortally wounded. His brother was wounded by the same round. Citizens and outlaws continued to exchange gunfire with wounds inflicted on both sides. The outlaws decided to leave town but they incurred fire from irate citizens as they fled. Deputy U.S. Marshal Simpson Melton was hit in the leg. Estimates put the number of rounds fired at just over 100. All of the gang was wounded except one.

Artist’s rendition of the Southwest City, Missouri, bank robbery.

The pressure on the gang by U.S. Marshals greatly increased, and one-by-one, gang members were tracked down and captured or killed.

Doolin went to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to take the health resorts healing baths. Bill Tilghman, Deputy U.S. Marshal, found him there and arrested him. Doolin quickly escaped from the jail in Guthrie, O.T. He was tracked to his new location by Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas and posse. Heck stopped Bill Doolin’s crime spree with an 8 Gauge.

Bill Doolin, at the end of the road.

The Son Goes Down in Mammoth Spring

Mammoth Spring, Arkansas is located at the Missouri and Arkansas state line, in north-central Arkansas. You may remember mention of it in the previous article about the Barker Gang.

Street scene, Mammoth Spring, Arkansas.

Convict Lit Davis was imprisoned for his role in the February 1912 ambush murder of a local man, conducted by the Davis Brothers, Howard Sayers and Dr. H.M. Jones. In an attempt to gain favorable treatment, Davis tipped Fulton County Sheriff G.W. Caruthers to a planned bank robbery in Mammoth Spring, on June 20th, 1912.

Contemporary newspaper account of the Mammoth Spring bank robbery.

The Sheriff and his posse staked out the Citizens Bank and were on duty when the robbery occurred. After the robbers were called upon to lay down their arms and surrender, they fled into the street. Gunfire from the posse left 17-year-old bank robber Ben Jones dead in the middle of Main Street. He was the son of Dr. Jones. The other robbers fled. The accompanying images show the numbers of citizens viewing the aftermath of this attempted crime.

The Citizens Bank in Mammoth Spring, AR. Note the bullet holes left in the window.
Dead bank robber Ben Jones, in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas.

Five Strikes in Eureka Springs

On September 25, 1922 a small group of young men set up a campsite on Leatherwood Creek, west of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The town was known for large numbers of tourists. Two of the men drove into town in the afternoon to look around. The pair stopped first on Spring Street, and entered the First National Bank to change some currency into smaller denomination bills. While there, the two men took careful note of the layout, employees and operations of the bank.

That evening, they returned to their campsite and enjoyed Fall in the Ozarks. The next morning, five men drove into town in their automobile and parked across from the bank. Three of the men entered the bank, drew handguns and announced a robbery. The cashier of the bank stepped on a silent alarm and the robbery was soon known all over downtown. People began filling the street, most of them armed. Two citizens entered the bank and were taken hostage.

A display in the Saunder’s Gun Museum in Berryville, Arkansas, containing artifacts of the Eureka Springs Bank Robbery.

Meanwhile, the getaway driver with the car became nervous and took off downhill on Spring Street. A quick-thinking citizen shot the rear tire out with his revolver, causing the car to crash into a utility pole down the street. The driver bailed out and fled on foot. He tripped on a curb and when he tried to get up, he was fired on by the crowd, and hit by several loads of birdshot. That clipped his fleet feet and he surrendered.

Citizens of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, who fought back against the bank robbers.

The robbers in the bank used that distraction to flee, trying to take two bankers along as shields. As soon as they got outside where their lookout man was, the bankers broke loose, leaving the four robbers facing an angry, armed crowd of citizens who objected to the robbery with gunfire. The four robbers ran toward a staircase that led down to a lower street. Si Wilson was shot multiple times and killed. Charlie Price and John Cowan were wounded numerous times. The last robber, George Price, engaged in a gunfight with constable Homer Brittain and lost his life. Cowan, Charlie Price and Marcus Hendrix, the driver, were all taken to the hospital. Charlie Price died from his wounds on the 1st of October.

The stairwell where the Eureka Springs bank robbers fled. Note the prophetic undertaker advertising!
More citizens of Eureka Springs, Arkansas pose with the bank robbers’ getaway vehicle.

The Return of a Starr

It is probably apparent that bank robbery was an epidemic in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The citizen’s reactions in these incidents proved how strong the “no tolerance for crime” ethic was in these old Ozarks mountains.

The outlaw, Henry Starr. Image restored by Nate Jordan, Unalome Photography, Pueblo, Colorado. Contact: [email protected]

Henry Starr of the Bentonville bank robbery was captured in Colorado Springs on July 31, 1893, returned to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and lodged in the federal jail under a murder charge for the slaying of Deputy U.S Marshal Floyd Wilson.

While there, Starr was a participant in two jail break attempts. In the first, he and others attacked one of the guards during feeding time, in early October. After one of the prisoners was shot in the face by another guard, the other participants lost heart and begged the guards not to shoot.

After pleading self-defense in the murder trial, Starr was found guilty and sentenced to hang on the gallows. As he lingered in jail, awaiting the date of his execution, another jailbreak that turned deadly occurred on Friday, July 26, 1895. A notorious outlaw from the Indian Territory, Crawford Goldsby (also known as “Cherokee Bill”), was also under sentence of death for the murder of a citizen during a robbery. With the aid of a Colt Single Action revolver that had been smuggled into the jail, Goldsby started to set himself free. Goldsby shot and killed Guard Lawrence Keating. That act started an armed standoff, as more guards, Deputy U.S. Marshals, city police officers, and many citizens of Fort Smith responded to the emergency. Starr finally offered to enter Goldsby’s cell and talk him into surrendering, which he did.

Lawrence Keating, U.S. Marshal’s Guard at the federal jail in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
The execution of Crawford Goldsby (Cherokee Bill) on the federal gallows at Fort Smith, March 17th, 1896. This is a drawing from a photograph taken by a witness, which was prohibited.

Starr’s appeal on his conviction was heard and he later pled to manslaughter. He was sent to the penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio on manslaughter and seven counts of robbery. He was later pardoned by Teddy Roosevelt.

Old Habits Die Hard

Starr soon returned to his old habits. Some folks will work harder, and risk more, to steal, than they will to work for an honest day’s wage. Always has been, remains so today, and probably will be tomorrow. Starr committed several robberies, including one at a bank in Amity, Colorado, that resulted in a stay at the Colorado State Penitentiary. After he was paroled in the Fall of 1913, another series of bank robberies occurred. Fourteen banks in Oklahoma were robbed between September 1914 and January 1915.

On March 27, 1915, Starr and associates attempted to rob two banks simultaneously in Stroud, Oklahoma. Everything was going well until the citizens began shooting at the robbers. Starr was wounded by 17-year-old Paul Curry, shooting a sawed-off .30-30 borrowed from the butcher shop (it was used for killing hogs).

It was back to prison again for more rehabilitation.

A New Beginning?

By 1919, slick-talking Henry Starr was paroled. Bentonville, Arkansas was still trying to get him extradited to face charges there, but the Oklahoma governor refused.

Still, from the early film, “The Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws,” showing the Bank of Cache, Oklahoma, that had just been robbed in the movie. Circa 1908.

The movie industry, in its infancy, was under way in Oklahoma. Bill Tilghman and other Deputy U.S. Marshals made a film called, “The Passing of The Oklahoma Outlaws,” in 1915. They even used Roy Daughertry (“Arkansas Tom”), now out of prison, to play himself. He soon gave up on moving pictures and went back to his life of crime.

Film poster from Starr’s movie, “A Debtor to the Law.”

Henry Starr also decided to give up his life of crime (crossed fingers) for the movie industry. He starred in, and was involved in the production of, “A Debtor to the Law.” Supposedly Starr received $15,000 for his efforts.

A still from Starr’s movie. Starr is on the right.
Another still, from Starr’s movie. Starr is on the left, in this group shot.

Same Old Thing

Some folks give in to the song of the wild and the lure of evil. Some folks just cannot shake it, and Starr was one of them.

People’s Bank, Harrison, Arkansas. The building visible behind the bank is the Boone County Jail, where Starr was taken after he was shot and wounded.

On Friday, February 18, 1922, four men drove into Harrison, Arkansas, and parked near the People’s National Bank on the southwest corner of the town square. Three of the men entered the bank, announced a hold up, and began scooping up cash. Former bank president, W. J. Meyers, was in the bank and standing near the vault. When he saw what was happening, he stepped into the vault and picked up a rifle that had been stashed three years ago for this very reason.

Former People’s National Bank President, W.J. Meyers. Image restored by Nate Jordan, Unalome Photography, Pueblo, Colorado. Contact: [email protected]

Meyers fired at Starr, striking him in the side, the bullet passing through his spine. Starr fell to the floor and his companions fled the bank, jumped in their auto, and raced out of town. Boone County Sheriff J. S. Johnson led a posse after the other three robbers only to find their vehicle, south of town, burning.

Massad Ayoob, noted firearms instructor, writer, trainer and retired law enforcement officer, visits with former Museum Director Toinette Madison, about the  model 1873 Winchester rifle that W. J. Myers killed Outlaw Henry Starr with. Image courtesy of the Boone County Museum of History, Harrison, Arkansas.
The old Boone County jail, where Starr died, three days after he was shot in a bank robbery.

Starr was moved to the jail where he died from the gunshot wound on Sunday the 20th. On Saturday, before he died, he provided his own epitaph: “I’ve robbed more banks than any man in America.”

Henry Starr, post-mortem. Image restored by Nate Jordan, Unalome Photography, Pueblo, Colorado. Contact: [email protected]

Not Done Yet

Unfortunately, the bank robbery epidemic of the time did not end with the death of Henry Starr. It continued on through the 1930s, then seemed to taper off a bit. Bank robberies still occur because, as they say, that’s where the money is. Some state banker associations issued rewards for bank robbers–Alive or Dead—back then, like those in Texas and Missouri.

The Missouri Bankers Association posted rewards for dead bank robbers . . .
. . . and so did the Texas Bankers Association!

Crime continues on today and seems to ebb and flow at times. It seems, to my feeble mind, that things are currently getting worse, with a steep incline. One of the root causes of this uptick is a very transparent effort by officials who want to see this country damaged or destroyed. Other factors include open borders, the vilification of law enforcement, and efforts to defund and cripple law enforcement agencies, or eliminate them entirely. The dramatic rise of feral youth, raised without parental guidance, and soft-on-crime prosecutors with no desire to do their jobs, are other contributors to the rise.

ANARCHY: A state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other control systems.

We’re definitely trending towards anarchy, at our current pace. Please pray for our country and keep yourselves and your families safe in these dangerous times.



  1. Now would be an opportune time to insert one of the rules of relocation. Don’t move somewhere because you like the place, then spend all of your effort trying to change it into the place you left!

Author’s Note

The older I get, the more I reflect on friends and mentors that helped me along the way in my career. Some of them include:

James O. Medlock, Chief of Police, Jonesboro, Arkansas;

Tommy L. Goodwin, Chief of Police, Springdale, Arkansas (and the longest serving director of Arkansas State Police), and;

John H. Kidwell, Captain, Arkansas State Police, and Sheriff of Bradley County, Arkansas.

These fine men have gone on to their reward. Thank you, gentlemen, for your kindness and your lessons.

I’d also like to add my thanks to:

My wonderful wife;

Dave Jackson, and;

Jason Aldean and Oliver Anthony ( Christopher Anthony Lunsford). God bless them both for helping to wake up and unify a giant percentage of our country.

Stay safe in these crazy times we are living in. Put your trust in God.

Additional Resources

RevolverGuys who are interested in learning more about these historical events will enjoy reading these books:


Author: Tony Perrin

Tony is a native of the Arkansas Ozarks. He started in law enforcement in 1976, and worked for two municipal police departments. In his last job, Tony worked as a State Park Officer for 32 years. Tony was a Firearms Instructor at two of the agencies, and received an FBI letter of Commendation for his role in the capture of an FBI Top Ten fugitive. Tony has researched and documented line of duty deaths in Arkansas for over 25 years, has served as a historical consultant to the U.S Marshal's Service since 1983, and has served as a guest curator at the Old State House Museum, for the award-winning exhibit, "Badges, Bandits & Bars: Arkansas Law & Justice." Tony has been a speaker, for over 30 years, on the History of Crime & Law Enforcement to museums, civic organizations, historical societies and law enforcement groups. He has also appeared on The History Channel, in "The History of the U. S. Marshal's Service." Tony is a Life Member of the NRA and a dedicated revolver aficionado! He does have a couple of Browning Hi Powers, though!

35 thoughts on “The Days That Communities Fought Back Against Evil”

  1. Great article Tony. Teddy Roosevelt was a fine president by most accounts. But why on earth he would pardon a thug who executed a Deputy US Marshal is a real head scratcher.

  2. Thank you Doug.

    That question has bugged me for sometime.
    I always imagine TR as carrying a big stick and solving problems.
    Perhaps Teddy’s western experience created a soft spot for characters of the West but knowing this clown had killed a DUSM I can not believe he did that either.
    My best to you and yours.

  3. Our Midwest during late 19th and early 20th centuries was much more violent than I previously thought, Tony. As you clearly explained, the populace in that area (and other places) often stood up to the bad guys and gave them a big dose of lead poisoning, though some of the citizens and lawmen succumbed to it, too.

    But back then the locals had some real “skin in the game” when outlaws tried to rob their banks. In those days when a bank was robbed, or lost its assets through some other misfortune, there was no Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to make the customers whole. If you were about to lose all your life’s savings in a robbery that might inspire you to take a tough approach with the bad guys.

    Another lesson here is, long ago, the news media had no problem with showing graphic photos of the dead thieves, arguably a deterrent to others of like mind. In my opinion, today’s news organizations could do some after- the-fact good by posting images of dead mass killers in all their ugliness. That might eliminate some of the “going out with a blaze of glory” fantasies of some wannabe copycats.

    1. Indeed, Spencer. Instead of posting their “glamor shots” (I’m thinking of the infamous picture of the VA Tech murderer, looking menacing with a pistol in each hand, aimed at the camera) and printing their name a million times, let’s just show them as a sad, crumpled up corpse. Not much to emulate, there.

      Great point about having skin in the game, too. A robbery could be much more devastating in those days. It’s not much of a stretch to say that a robbery could be a life-threatening attack, if your means to survive have been taken.

  4. The Texas Banker’s Association had a little trouble with Frank Hamer when some of those dead “bank robbers” turned out to be dupes who were set up and killed for the reward money.

    As for the genuine article(s), not much change in the MO, just flivvers instead of horses.

  5. Spencer you are spot on with the reference to the FDIC system I am sure that was the prime factor leading to resisting bank robberies, when the money was gone it was gone. There also had to be a lot of resistance in those days in the form of sympathetic fire. While folks might not have 2 dollars to rub together, and they might set around the wood stove down at the general store and laugh at those robbers their tune would do a 180 if someone attacked their community, their family , friends and neighbors.

    Folks really deep down just don’t much care for criminals.
    Thank you Sir, I always enjoy your thoughts.

  6. Lobo thank you for bringing up that part of Frank Hamer’s story as it relates to the reward that offered cash for dead robbers. Because as history says there were instances of corrupt bankers & officers who would conspire to find a couple of hobos or other folks who could be induced to participate in a”bank robbery” at night and end up being trophies turned in as dead robbers for cash.
    Check out the book , “I am Frank Hamer” by John H. Jenkins.
    Lots of other great Frank Hamer tales in there and in John Boessennecker’s recent excellent book on Ranger Hamer.

  7. I like the story, but the first paragraph does not describe life here in Central Virginia. We are not under siege by bad guys.

    Violent crime declined sharply in Richmond in the last 2 years, after a spike during the pandemic. It had been in gradual decline before that, dropping to about 50% of the level of the early 90s before the recent uptick. My city is objectively safer than it was 50 years ago, and certainly more than 40 years ago. You can walk downtown after dark without fear, because tens of thousands of new residents have moved back. You see folks with kids, walking dogs, and other signals of healthy civic life.

    Economic growth, good policing, urban infill, and community involvement all helped.

    You won’t see that on the nightly news. Be prepared, but don’t spread panic without empirical evidence.

    1. Glad you’re doing better there Wheelgunner, but that’s not my reality here, nor is it the reality in any of the urban areas I travel to every week, across the nation. My experience tells me things are not getting better in most places, they are getting worse.

      Crime statistics are definitely improving in many cities, but they’re deceptive. Police agencies all across America are making fewer arrests because they’ve retreated from doing anything that looks or smells like proactive policing, and because soft-on-crime D.A.s aren’t prosecuting anyone anyhow, so why bother? Additionally, many charges are being reduced or pled down because of soft-on-crime policies, so some serious crimes are being reported as lesser crimes now, which makes things look better when they aren’t.

      Even worse, many crimes are not being investigated at all, because of critical shortfalls in police manning, so no arrests are being made, and no charges are being filed. Sadly, I know a rape victim whose attacker is known, but he was never arrested or interviewed because the police department only had a single, overwhelmed detective (who quit a few months later, leaving nobody to investigate the crime against her).

      Too, the violent crime spikes of the ChynaVirus years gave many cities a black eye, and police chiefs across the nation have been given directions to “fix” the problem by their political bosses, who want to be reelected. The result has been significant underreporting of criminal activity to the people who track such things, such as the FBI. Did you know police agencies are not required to submit their data to the FBI for their annual Uniform Crime Report? Some major urban areas like Los Angeles just stopped sending their stats to the feds, because they got tired of showing up near the top of the list of cities with the most crime. See how easy it is to fix that? Just don’t send them the numbers. Voila! We just cut homicides by 100%!

      Again, I’m glad life in Central VA is better for you these days, but Tony has a more accurate read of what’s really going on in America than you think. He has law enforcement contacts all over the nation who provide him the real scoop, not the sanitized “the numbers are improving” story for consumption by the sheep. Your suggestion that he’s “spreading panic without evidence” is unwarranted, and I stand by his characterization of where we’re generally at, in many corners of America. I always appreciate your comments, but respectfully disagree with you on this one.

      Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the rest of his excellent story!

      1. If the crime rates in this country are diminishing, I haven’t seen it with my own eyes in major West Coast cities, including mine, Portland, Oregon. If anything, crime in Portland continues to worsen while the mayor, city council, and Multnomah County DA dither, offer idiotic excuses and repeat the same “soft on crime” mistakes. What will turn it around? Tony’s article illustrates how ordinary citizens might band together and drive out the bad element. And then replace their good-for-nothing local politicians with leaders who will enforce the law.

      2. A report from Houston today says the police failed to investigate roughly 264,000 crimes since 2016 due to a lack of personnel, including 4,000 sexual assaults. That’s a lot of crimes that never made it into the official stats, which is why we should take no solace in declining crime numbers.

    2. Wheelgunner, no disrespect intended, but your experience is based on a sample of exactly one single city.

      NYPD officers violently attacked in broad daylight, no charges filed, with the suspect flipping off the camera while walking away a free man. The same city now has the national guard deployed to their subways to “look for guns.”

      Laken Riley.

      Street takeovers in Memphis, LA, Atlanta, etc. with downtown areas abandoned out of fear. A single Google search reveals an attempted street takeover in your own peaceful city of Richmond, Virginia, in 2022.

      Double-digit homicides every weekend in Chicago.


      There is no propaganda in this article, but rather just a simple & factual observation about the reality of violent crime in most of America these days. I hope that you found the remainder of this wonderful article to be informative and entertaining.

  8. “$5,000 dollar reward for DEAD bank robbers”, haw! You won’t see that printed today! But I can’t imagine they had much use for live ones… thank you, Tony, for a pleasurable read, and a reminder that things are cyclical.

  9. Wheelgunner thank you for your comments.

    Glad to hear that you live in a safe urban area that has a handle on crime. I do too, the small town I live in is fairly quiet and not much in the way of crime occurs here.

    I wish that could be true across our country, too many communities are suffering from ramped up crime. The media in our country usually reports with a slant towards what the owners of the parent company wants. Hearing from other folks around the country seems to provide at times a much more accurate picture. Like your own comments about your town.

    Propaganda is a valuable tool in conquest.

    A cautionary comment, statistics of any kind can be manupliated in any direction by the folks compiling the numbers and interpretation of same.

    I assure you my comments are not intended to panic anyone. The people prone to panic would not normally be visitors to a site where those evil items (Guns) that cause death and destruction are discussed and enjoyed.

    My tiny part in this great website is just to share some history of revolvers from the past and to illustrate that they are inaimate objects that can be used for good or bad. Also to remind us all that history can and does repeat itself and is a good teacher at times.

    If we erase history (Tearing down statues or burning books, which to me is criminal activity) then we may be losing an opportunity to learn from our mistakes.

    God bless you and yours and keep you safe.


  10. Riley your comments are very much appreciated. The community I live in is small and quiet. The bank I used recently put up signs very where that no guns are allowed on the premises. There has been a drastic reduction in Bank Robberies at any of that bank branches.
    Oh wait I can not remember when there was one before the signs went up.
    If you get a chance ,read the Jenkins Book on Frank Hamer for the rest of the story on the dead bank robber rewards.

  11. Thank you, Tony, for a well-researched and compelling read. I always enjoy your historical articles. Things are bad now, and you remind us that we have been dealing with the violent criminal element virtually since our start as a nation. It seems like in our past, regular citizens were more willing to step up and take part in the defense of their communities than they are now. I believe there are forces at work hellbent to convince us that we need to rely on the government to fix our violent societal problems. Not sure that approach is working, or that we will like the end result…

  12. Great reflection on history and how it should be reflected on today by Americans. Also I have an interest in acquiring an 8 gauge pump shotgun for times when you need to be sure!

  13. Kevin I agree with you whole heartedly on the Government wanting to be in charge of security.

    Kinda like that ol Fox that was hired to watch the hen house even though there were chicken feathers stuck to his beard in his interview.

    Very much appreciate your thoughts on things.
    Tell your son he is appreciated for what he is doing.

  14. Thanks Pete. That one was a double if I remember the details of the story right.

    That is a heck of a final portrait for sure.

    Thank you Sir.

  15. Tony, thanks for a very informative article. Those photographs really illustrate the gravity of making poor choices when confronted by brave lawmen and like minded citizens who choose to stand their ground. One of my first arrests while walking a foot post in the South Bronx was a radio call of a 10-30, bank robbery in progress. Your article immediately captured my interest.
    I’ll pass along some advice I received so other RevolverGuys and RevolverGals can make their own decision regarding the use of deadly force to protect their community. Personally I carry a firearm to protect my family, especially my grandchildren, and always look out for officers, deputies, and troopers on vehicle stops.
    I’ve learned to be hesitant, perhaps cautious is a better term, before jumping into action to intervene in violent situations with strangers. Many of those folks do not care for law enforcement and some downright despise “deplorables” who carry loaded firearms.
    An off duty officer from my precinct was in line at a neighborhood pharmacy when three armed thugs invaded. They forced the patrons down onto the floor, stole cash and drugs from the pharmacist. As they were making their escape one perp made a threatening move with his gun and my buddy shot him, at least once with his off duty .38 Special. A short while later the perp’s dead body was recovered. Apparently his accomplices dumped his lifeless body out of their getaway car.
    One of the female patrons gave a statement to the effect, “I don’t know why he had to shoot him. After all, that guy was leaving.” Instead of expressing gratitude, this citizen turned against the cop rather than the armed robber threatening their lives. She clearly didn’t notice everything compared to the off duty officer. Eventually my buddy was cleared and returned to full duty but that one ungrateful citizen caused him some concern. In today’s liberal society with pro-criminal DAs who hate cops, my colleague may be facing a lifetime behind bars.
    I pray I make the correct split second decision so I don’t jeopardize my family’s future or my own life. As the Hill Street Blues sergeant used to say, “Let’s be careful out there.”

    1. Yes. I don’t want to get political, so I’ll keep this practical.
      In today’s society in great swathes of the United States, a citizen’s or officer’s shooting of a criminal who is in the act of committing a forcible felony, even though it’s legally justifiable, will result in the citizen or officer being prosecuted for aggravated battery, manslaughter, or even murder (although how you get “malice aforethought” or “premeditation” in a split-second decision to act is beyond me). While I applaud the citizens of yore, we no longer live in that society. Now that I’m retired from LE, I follow the old Polish proverb of “not my circus, not my monkeys.” I will only take action nowadays if an offender threatens me, my family, or a child; otherwise, the game isn’t worth the candle.
      I used to say I spent a career protecting and serving a grateful nation, but that nation turned out to be extremely ungrateful. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s on its own. If that makes me a bad person, then I’m a bad person.
      Sad, really. But I didn’t make the world; I just have to live in it.

    2. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but you can’t trust the public to back you. Be thankful if they do, but the expectation of cooperation should not be part of an LEOs mindset or universe.

  16. Also, this site is called “revolverguy,” but the only handgun photo in the article is of an autoloading pistol. Coincidence or conspiracy? I report, you decide.
    Other than that, a great article.

    1. Old 1811 look a bit closer at the Henry Starr film stills and the on the scene images of citizens in Eureka Springs there are revolvers in both. One appears to show a percussion revolver, possibly a Remington. Definitely a time of transition.

      Thank you for your comments. Like the circus and monkey line.

      1. I should have been clearer. I meant that the only photo that showed ONLY a handgun was a flat pistol. The photos of people clearly showed lots of holstered revolvers, but they were not the focus (get it?) of the photos; the people were.
        And, of course, I only mentioned it for comedic purposes; I truly enjoy the articles you post here.

  17. Opa, thank you for the outstanding contributions in your post. Folks engaged in the carrying firearms for the protection of self and others can never stop learning. Just like life itself the day anyone stops learning is probably going to be the date that the stone carver inscribes on our tombstone.

    And who better to learn from than others that are engaged in the practice of carrying.

    On the law enforcement side of the equation we have all seen the new graduate from the Academy that thinks he knows all he needs to know. Heck some of us that toted that hunk of tin might have been that Rookie, our memories get hazy that far back. Happens on the Concealed Carry side also as soon as that piece of plastic arrives in the mail a person is ready to storm San Juan Hill. The Academy and the Concealed Carry certifications are equivalent to grade school. Then you have high school and college. Those will ,more than likely ,last you for the rest of your life.
    Never miss an opportunity to learn things that might save your life from others like Opa and a host of folks on this forum and other places that have learned those lessons and are happy to share their learning experiences.

    Always as Opa says, let Sergeant Esterhaus’s admonishment be in your mind,
    “Let’s be careful out there”.

  18. I loved the article. It reminded me of a great book I read years ago. “West of Hell’s Fringe” is a book about the lawmen and criminals of Indian Territory in those days of the Doolin’s and Dalton’s. My father was actually born in Indian Territory only a few months before it became Oklahoma.
    Some of the things I learned from the book that I found very interesting was that U.S. Marshals didn’t get a salary. They were paid on a piece rate system. They got a fee for serving warrants and subpoenas and were paid 6 cents a mile for travel. During those latter days of the Indian Territory, 70% of the Department of Justice’s budget was being spent on the Territory. DOJ had a reputation for exceptionally slow pay for those piece rate fees for the Marshals. The oldest Dalton brother was a US Marshal. He was killed and according to the Dalton family he was owed money from DOJ. So the Dalton brothers held the railroads and banks the equivalent to the government all the same to them and they were there and they could get the money from them. The outlaw Dalton gang was born.
    That was why the Rewards were so effective. When a posse was formed there was even a formula for how the Reward was divvied up and who was responsible to provide food and ammo. Not everyone got an equal share, your share was based on what your role in the posse was. When the Doolin’s escaped from the Guthrie jail the reward wasn’t paid to the posse who captured them and put them there, even though they had nothing to do with holding them in jail. Life wasn’t fair to the lawmen of the day, slow pay from the government and lots of ways for the reward posters to weasel out of payment. The lawman who formed the posse had to front the money for the posse expenses and take them out of the reward when he tallied everything. When they stiffed him for the reward because of a jail break he was left holding the bag for those expenses.
    I also learned that my Grandfather probably knew Bill Doolin. The book recounts that Doolin fled to a small community in the southern part of IT to heal up from a gun shot wound. The book said that Doolin spent his days on the porch of the General Store with his injured leg propped up to heal. That would have been the General Store that my grandfather would have frequented when he was a boy. My great grandfather was the Postmaster. The Post Office was in the store. So I think they would have known Bill Doolin, maybe not as Bill Doolin but under an alias. Sadly, they’re all gone now and no way to ask them. The book is well worth the read. Thanks for your article, it too was well worth the read.

  19. Gary, thank you for your comments, they are very much appreciated and they prompted a bit of info for everyone who likes to read about outlaw and lawman history.

    The Author of the book “West of Hell’s Fringe” was the late Glenn D. Shirley of Stillwater, Oklahoma. In addition to that excellent book he wrote at least 14 others and some 800 articles spread out through nearly 100 different magazines according to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.

    Glenn served on the Stillwater Police Department from 1936 to 1957 retiring as Captain. He served as a Publications Specialist and Assistant Director of the Oklahoma State University Press for 10 years.

    I had the opportunity to meet Glenn at his home library, literally a small house, in Stillwater filled to bursting with books, periodicals, documents, photographs and newspapers.
    An OSBI Agent friend took me there to meet this great writer.
    My house had burned a few months earlier and I hoped to purchase a few copies of Glenn’s books to replace the ones I had lost. When I left I carried a stack of new Glenn Shirley autographed books to the car that he emphatically refused any payment for.

    I highly reccomend any and all of Glenn’s books.

    Sadly Glenn passed away in 2002. His vast collection of research materials, books, photographs and other artifacts remain intact and preserved at the Cowboy Hall of Fame & Museum in Oklahoma City.
    Thank you Glenn for your kindness and for your vast contributions to history.

    Gary also mentioned the history of the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
    The oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency’s storied history is told in the National U. S. Marshal’s Museum located in Fort Smith just down the Arkansas River from the N.P.S. historic site that interprets Judge Parker’s Court.
    Come visit a National Museum without traveling into D.C.

    1. Glenn sounds like he was quite a gentleman, in addition to being an outstanding historian. How wonderful that they preserved his work at the Museum!

  20. Today, the online American Rifleman’s “The Armed Citizen” contains a story about some locals in Mill Creek, Oklahoma, who resisted–with lethal force– three bank robbers. As two of criminals were leaving the bank with their loot, “they took shots at citizens at Young’s Garage.” The citizens retaliated and blasted the pair, wounding one and killing the other. Then the getaway driver showed up, “opened fire on the citizens, who returned fire and wounded him.” He managed to drive away but was later captured by police.

    This happened in March 1933, mere months before the creation of the FDIC, so some citizens still were motivated to fight it out with bad guys who were stealing their assets and taking potshots at bystanders.

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