Tom Horn's Life in the Wild West

Categories: Uncle Tom's Cabin

Many notorious outlaws in the wild west like Joshua Webb, Hoodoo Brown, Jesse James, Billy The Kid. One that few mention is Thomas Horn. From being a range detective, then a Scout in the Spanish-American war, and then finally an outlaw. Mr.Horn had a wildest path to becoming a outlaw. Let's start at the very beginning on November 21, 1860 in Scotland County, Missouri Tom Horn was born. He was raised in a 12 children household. In his childhood he was a victim of abuse from his dad.

He did not really have any friends, but his best friend was his dog named Shedrick. Later, Shedrick got killed by 2 boys who were fighting and beating up Tom Horn and they shot his dog with a shotgun.

He eventually ran away from his family and moved around in the Southwest. Within couple of months he landed a job working on the Santa Fe railroad in Kansas City. He eventually he was working in car stages.

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At age 16 he moved out to Wyoming and became a civilian scout, packer, and interpreter under Al Sieber when the Apache War was happening. He was a war hero and he got his recognition at Battle of Dry Wash, where he showed his bravery and assistance in the capture of Geronimo. He eventually became a ranch hand and a rodeo contestant. He mainly became a cattle inspector and allegedly killed 2 ranchers for $600 each. That's when started become a contract killer then he killed two other gentlemen named Bob and Bill Christian.

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But put his contract killing career to a halt to fight in the Spanish American War.

He signed up to the U.S. Army as a mule packer then switch to calvary. nothing is really known what he did during those years he the Army in 1900. He changed his name to James Hicks for a little bit. (source) After he left the Army he returned as contract killer. Tom Horn changed his tactics up. On July, 8 1900 he tracked his victim named Rash to his cabin in Routt County, CO he pretended to be a prospector name John Hicks. Rash invited him into Tom Horn in for some dinner, Tom Horn excused himself from the table and waited outside behind a tree, as the victim stepped outside Tom Horn popped three bullets into the victims head. On Oct. 3 1900 His next victim was Isom Dart a black cowboy who is accompanied by other fellow black cowboys who were suspected of rustling cows was tracked by Tom Horn in Routt County.

But Tom Tom Horn hid behind a rock and Mr.Dart and his gang went outside their cabin to inspect the rustled cattle. Horn fired two shots from his rifle with Tom Horns marksmanship the bullets clapped Darts skull and shattered the skull. Horns last killing was unforgivable. On July 18 1901 a small town near Cheyenne, Wyoming Kels Nickell is wanted dead by competing ranchers. Horn only see Nickell once but from a distance. In the morning on July 18 Nickells tall 14 year old son was driving his fathers wagon, unfortunately the boy was wearing his father's clothes and hat. When Nickells son open the gate Tom Horn fired at the boy hitting him in the chest and another shot popping his head. Couple weeks later on August 4 Horn atempt to kill Kels Nickell he shot him but he only wounded him. These shootings got the attention of a Marshal named Joe LeFors. The manhunt for Tom Horn has begun.

In January 1902 Lefors took Horn to the saloon, drinking and ended up with both of them talking about their achievements. Then Horn alledgely opened up and started talking about the Nickell shootings, in which Lefors arrested Horn on the spot. On October 1902 the trial began for Horn denying that he was the shooter, the jury did not believe him one bit. He was sentenced to hang on January 9, 1903 but they hanging was moved to November 20, 1903. On November 20, 1903 he tried to escape the jail but did not succeed. After breakfast Horn was hanged. He is now buried in Columbia Cemetery at Boulder Colorado. Tom Horn had one hell of a life he has been on both sides of the law, was a marksman with the rifle, war hero, rancher. He did everything but he will be known for his run as a outlaw.


Updated: Dec 12, 2023
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Tom Horn's Life in the Wild West. (2022, Jan 06). Retrieved from

Tom Horn's Life in the Wild West essay
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