Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Good And Bad In The Old West...!

Back on track for Western Wednesday, I think.

Sometimes, back in those days, the lines between the good and the bad were very say the least! The good guys were not always angels and the bad guys were not always as bad as they seemed. One of the big exceptions was Jim Miller, as shown in this story from the folks at

Aug 22, 1898:
Hired killer Jim Miller joins Texas Rangers

The hired assassin Jim Miller briefly joins the Texas Rangers, demonstrating how thin the line between outlaw and lawmen often was in the West.

Many lawmen in the Old West had never been on the wrong side of the law themselves, but more than a few moved easily between the worlds of lawbreaker and law enforcer. James Brown Miller was one of the latter. During his 47 years, Miller worked as a deputy sheriff, a city marshal, and Texas Ranger. He was also a gambler, a swindler, and one of the deadliest professional killers in Texas.

As a young man, Miller was accused of committing several murders-including the double killing of his own grandparents-but the charges never stuck. By age 27, he was living in Alpine, Texas, where he reportedly offered to kill a local judge for $200. That offer was apparently rejected, but thereafter he became a professional killer, charging between $50 to $2,000, depending on the victim and the client's ability to pay. By his own account, he committed more than 50 murders.

Although Miller was arrested on several occasions, he proved hard to convict. The wealthier clients who hired him often provided expert legal counsel, and he was a careful killer who took pains to cover his tracks. Law enforcement agencies also found men like Miller useful, and they often were willing to overlook his checkered past if they needed help in capturing or killing a dangerous outlaw. The famous Texas Rangers even hired Miller, temporarily appointing him a Special Ranger on this day in 1898.

Miller's luck eventually ran out. In 1909, two Ada, Oklahoma, ranchers paid Miller $2,000 to kill August Bobbitt, with the promise of an additional $3,000 to pay for his defense in the event Miller was arrested. Miller killed Bobbitt with a shotgun, his favored weapon for assassinations. This time, however, Miller's victim was a well-liked man who left a widow with four children. Local citizens were outraged by the cold-blooded murder and demanded action. Miller and his two clients were quickly arrested and jailed, but none of them had a chance to mount a legal defense. A mob of Ada vigilantes stormed the jail, extracted the men, and lynched them in a nearby barn. Miller was 47 years old

Guess this is a lot like politics. The good guys are way too often nothing more than wolfs in sheep's clothing! Maybe we could solve part of this problem if we used the same type of action as the folks in Ada!

Just a thought, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. This heat is making it way too hot to sit outside!


Anonymous said...

Given the T.V. news stories on local LEOs and judges law breaking shenanigans, I'm not surprised at all to hear this story. I can't keep track of the reports of elected officials taking bribes, DUIs, drug dealing and other events - wow! So much for being a public servant.

The citizens of Ada took the law into their own hands and took care of business - I doubt if anyone lost a nights worth of sleep over it

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

Good story! Maybe if today's politicians thought there would be a good 'swing' or 'tar and feathering' party for them, they would be a wee bit more careful how they spend our money!
Since it's so hot outside, I'll bring some ice cream cake to cool everyone off!

linda m said...

I think that if todays politicians had to face consequences for their actions maybe they would be more careful with their legislation. There are days when I want to bring back the vigilantes.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I don't think things have changed that much over the years.

Bob from Athens said...

I have a good rope, where do we start ?

Billy Bob said...

Wednesdays are always my favorite day at "hermit's house".

JOJO said...

Good story today, I really enjoyed it.

Heat at your place, cold at mine. Been raining for 2 days. :(P
Wonder if that's what made my puter misbehave.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Not sure if violence ever solves anything, but n this case it certainly did justice and saved the cost of a trial.

HermitJim said...

Hey Anon 5:48...
I think you are probably right about Ada not losing any sleep over their actions!

No need to wait for years like we do now.

Hey, thanks for coming over today!

Hey Phyllis...
I'm not sure that some of those bozos are smart enough to recognize the danger if they saw it.

Ice cream cake sure sounds good to me!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Linda...
Maybe a good scare is needed to make them start behaving...then again, probably not!

Greed is a mean mistress!

Thanks so much for your visit today!

Hey Dizzy...
Right you are about somethings not changing much!

Seems like we replace the crooks with more crooks! Some system, huh?

Thanks, buddy, for coming by this morning!

Hey Bob...
Think that just one is going to be enough?

That's OK, I know where to get some more!

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!

Hey Billy Bob...
I'm happy that you like the Wednesday western tales! Some of them are pretty cool, I'll admit!

Western history can sure be interesting!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey JoJo...
Glad you enjoyed it, sweetie.

The weather very easily can make a difference in the way your PC operates!

Thanks, my special friend, for coming by today!

Hey Beatrice...
The way that this guy kept getting off, this might have been the best way to serve justice!

Thanks so much for coming over today!