Wyoming Range War: The Infamous Invasion of Johnson County

Overview


Wyoming attorney John W. Davis retells the story of the West’s most notorious range war. Having delved more deeply than previous writers into land and census records, newspapers, and trial transcripts, Davis has produced an all-new interpretation. He looks at the conflict from the perspective of Johnson County residents—those whose home territory was invaded and many of whom the invaders targeted for murder—and finds that, contrary to the received explanation, these people were...
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Wyoming Range War: The Infamous Invasion of Johnson County

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Overview


Wyoming attorney John W. Davis retells the story of the West’s most notorious range war. Having delved more deeply than previous writers into land and census records, newspapers, and trial transcripts, Davis has produced an all-new interpretation. He looks at the conflict from the perspective of Johnson County residents—those whose home territory was invaded and many of whom the invaders targeted for murder—and finds that, contrary to the received explanation, these people were not thieves and rustlers but legitimate citizens.

The broad outlines of the conflict are familiar: some of Wyoming’s biggest cattlemen, under the guise of eliminating livestock rustling on the open range, hire two-dozen Texas cowboys and, with range detectives and prominent members of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, “invade” north-central Wyoming to clean out rustlers and other undesirables. While the invaders kill two suspected rustlers, citizens mobilize and eventually turn the tables, surrounding the intruders at a ranch where they intend to capture them by force. An appeal for help convinces President Benjamin Harrison to call out the army from nearby Fort McKinley, and after an all-night ride the soldiers arrive just in time to stave off the invaders’ annihilation. Though taken prisoner, they later avoid prosecution.

The cattle barons’ powers of persuasion in justifying their deeds have colored accounts of the war for more than a century. Wyoming Range War tells a compelling story that redraws the lines between heroes and villains.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806142616
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2012
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 285,864
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

John W. Davis, who resides in Worland, Wyoming, has practiced law in the Big Horn Basin for more than thirty years. He is the author of A Vast Amount of Trouble: A History of the Spring Creek Raid andGoodbye, Judge Lynch: The End of a Lawless Era in Wyoming's Big Horn Basin.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Prologue 3

1 The Beginning 5

2 The County Grows as the Sentinel Watches 19

3 A Fabled Winter and a Spring of Bitter Division 30

4 Mavericks 47

5 Cattle Theft Charges 55

6 "Cattle Kate" 67

7 Storm Clouds Build 79

8 The Killings Begin 94

9 More Killings 108

10 A New Plan 119

11 The Calm before the Storm 132

12 The Invasion Begins 142

13 The Death of Nate Champion 153

14 The Siege 161

15 The Siege Ends 174

16 The Newspaper Wars 181

17 The Case - Part One 196

18 Martial Law 215

19 The 1892 Election 227

20 The Case - Part Two 247

21 1893 255

Epilogue 271

Appendix Diary of Nate Champion 285

Notes 287

Bibliography 343

Acknowledgments 347

Index 349

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Comprehensive and Riveting!

    I've read several books on the Johnson County War but found Mr. Davis' the best. Maybe it was the time distance from the event but Mr. Davis' training as a lawyer helped him set the timeline and present the facts in an organized, interesting way that kept my attention.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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