Gunfighter Tales

Richard Franklin Bishop

© Copyright 2022 by Richard Franklin  Bishop

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.
Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.      

Picture the old West. On his evening “rounds”, A Town Marshal walks into a crowded Bar and sees a WANTED Gunman bellied up to the Bar drinking his Whisky.

The Lawman walks with deliberation towards the man. The Gunman, noticing the Badge, now instantly decides he’s after “me”. The Gunman says loudly: “Everybody move away from the Bar ‘cause there’s going to be gunplay right now.”

The Lawman is of the ilk of all the Famous Town Marshals of the Old West -- and he calmly says just as loud: “No, stay put! There won’t be any shooting in here. That’s Ike Hovil and his face is on a WANTED POSTER with a price on his head. He’s faster on the draw than I am and I am only arresting him and putting him in jail for his own safety until his Trial here or some other place.”
But Ike Hovil isn’t going to go so easily. He says to the Lawman: “If you think you wanna become as famous as Pat Garrett, Wyatt Earp, or one of them others, then move over here by the Bar and keep both your hands where I can see them. Otherwise, get out of my way to the door. If you get too close to me as I go, I’ll draw-down on you.”

The Lawman continues loudly to the crowd: “I won’t fast-draw and if he shoots me doing my duty it’ll mean he’ll hang ‘cause he can’t claim Self-Defense. If he didn’t know that before, then he knows it now.”

He continues walking slowly towards Ike Hovil now standing alone at the Bar. He stops just short by inches, lays both hands on the Rail, and looks Ike right in the eye. He says dryly: “And besides, your pants fly is open and that’s a repulsive oversight by you.”

Taken aback, Ike Hovil blinks and starts to shove a hand down to find perhaps an open button or two or three and finds instead a COLT “Long-Barrel” .45 aimed at his belly. While Ike was speedily mulling over what to do in this new development, our Lawman had deftly drawn and aimed his big Revolver (but not at “Fast-Draw” speed). The rest was easy.

Later, while being slapped on the back by the Town Fathers for doing his job without bloodshed, he admitted that he had read about this “Trick” in a popular 25 Cent Pulp Magazine entitled “Gunfighter Tales”. This inexpensive Magazine, illustrated by drawings, was currently circulating around the Old West thrilling people with the facts of known gun fights and their outcomes !

The Town Marshal continues, now conversationally, to nearby listeners: “He doesn’t know it yet, but I probably saved his life. When he thinks it over, he should thank his Lucky Star because plenty of Professional Bounty-Hunters and even our pious ordinary citizens would think “DEAD OR ALIVE” and shoot first and ask questions later about a person whose face is on a WANTED poster. This is an important point of fact if the serious crimes cited in the Poster were heinous but might get a “Life” Sentance at the Trial instead of hanging. I believe that he’s only still alive in this town tonight because his Poster came in the mail today and was not yet put up on display. He should also thank a very popular two-bit cheap-thrill Magazine!

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