The Badman effect has us watching season after season of Deadwood—and also got us wondering:
Was the Old West really full of the sort of gun battles that ricochet across the silver screen?
How did most of the westward settlers of the shoot-'em-up variety truly meet their end?
"Often, a gunfight was spur-of-the-moment, with one drawing his pistol, and the other reacting. Often it would develop into a shootout where both men bolted for cover. Other times, one or both were drunk and missed several normally easy shots. Many times the shootout was little more than one taking advantage of the other's looking away at an opportune moment...
Gunfighters King Fisher, John Wesley Hardin, Ben Thompson, Billy the Kid, and Wild Bill Hickok all died as a result of an ambush, killed by men who feared them because of their reputation. Famed gunman Clay Allison died in a wagon accident. Gunmen Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Commodore Perry Owens, and Luke Short all died of natural causes, living out their lives on reputation and avoiding conflict in secluded retirement."
Secluded retirement? No! Just the thought makes us crave some good old fashioned... Reenactments! Every year the town of Northfield, Minnesota celebrates it's heroic place in outlaw history with Defeat of Jesse James Days. The festival, held the weekend after Labor Day, marks the anniversary of Northfield's brave stand against the James/Younger gang's attempt to rob the First National Bank.
If you'd like to learn more about this true tale of outlaws and gunfighters, the festival website has a historical account of that fateful September 7th.
Or, if you fancy yourself an expert on Jesse James, or on Northfield, Minnesota you can test your knowledge with the Raid Trivia Quiz.
If reenactments aren't your thing, check out some Mutton Bustin' instead.
Join us for an evening featuring Jeremy Mangan's art + ice carving + beer on July 24, 2009. Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Badman by Jeremy Mangan is on view from June 17 - July 31, 2009 in the Telephone Room Gallery. Viewable by appointment—please email us. Don't be shy.