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The news of Rash and Dart's deaths spread throughout the territory, and as such the other rustlers scattered in fear. Horn tracked them all down and killed three other members of Rash's association. The story goes that he pinned one of the dead cowboy's ears for the homesteaders to see as a warning.

During the Wilcox train robbery investigation, Horn obtained information from Bill Speck that revealed which of the robbers had killed Sheriff Josiah Hazen during their escape. Horn passed this information on to Charlie Siringo , who was working the case for the Pinkertons.

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Horn personally witnessed the bravery of the famous Rough Riders and colored regiments , the Ninth and Tenth Cavalries, during their assault on San Juan Hill , as well as the humiliating rout of American soldiers under Brig. Hamilton Hawkins. Although the packers were non-combatants, they were still prone to attack by Cuban rebels. Horn considered himself lucky to have lost no tracker during the war, although Horn recalled that he and his men were under constant fire as they delivered rations and ammunition to the soldiers.

At one point he was bedridden and was deemed unfit for combat. Upon recovering, he returned to Wyoming. Shortly after his return, Horn began working for wealthy cattle baron John C. Coble in , who belonged to the Wyoming Stock Men's Association. They were cattle ranchers. Jim Miller was no relation to the Texas outlaw Jim Miller.

Jim Miller and his neighbor Kels Nickell had already had several disputes following Nickell's introduction of sheep into the Iron Mountain area. Miller frequently accused Nickell of letting his sheep graze on Miller's land.

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At the Millers, Horn met Glendolene M. Kimmell, the young teacher at the Iron Mountain School. Kimmell was supported by both the large Miller and Kels Nickell families, and she boarded with the Millers. Horn entertained her with accounts of his adventures. That day he and males of the Miller family went fishing; he and Victor Miller, a son about his age, also practiced shooting, both of them with.

The Miller and Nickell families were the only ones to have children at the school. Kimmell had been advised of the families' ongoing feud before she arrived, and found that it was often played out by conflict among the children. A coroner's inquest began to investigate the murder. More violent incidents occurred during the period of the coroner's inquest, which was expanded to investigate these incidents, and lasted from July through September On August 4, , Kels Nickell was shot and wounded. Some 60—80 of his sheep were found "shot or clubbed to death. They were jailed on August 7 and released the following day on bond.

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The investigation of the shooting of Kels Nickell was added to the investigation of Willie Nickell's murder in the coroner's inquest. Deputy Marshal Joe Lefors later questioned Horn in January about the murder, while supposedly talking to him about employment. Horn was still inebriated from the night before, but Lefors gained what he called a confession to the murder of Willie Nickell. Horn allegedly confessed to killing the young Willie with his rifle from yards, which he boasted as the "best shot that [he] ever made and the dirtiest trick that [he] ever done.

Walter Stoll was the Laramie County Prosecutor in the case. Scott, who presided over the case, was running for re-election.


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Horn was supported by his longtime friend and employer, cattle rancher John C. He gathered a team for the defense headed by former Judge John W. Lacey and which included attorneys T. Burke, Roderick N. Matson, Edward T. Clark and T. Blake Kennedy. Reportedly, Coble paid for most of the costs of this large team. According to Johan P. Bakker, who wrote Tracking Tom Horn , the large cattle interests by this time found Horn "expendable" and the case provided a way to silence him in regard to their activities.

Horn's trial started October 10, in Cheyenne, which filled with crowds attracted by the notoriety of Horn. The Rocky Mountain News noted the carnival atmosphere and great interest from the public for a conviction. Only certain parts of Horn's statement were introduced, distorting his statement. The prosecution introduced testimony by at least two witnesses, including Lefors, as well as circumstantial evidence ; these elements only placed Horn in the general vicinity of the crime scene.

During the trial, Victor Miller testified that he and Horn both had. Glendolene Kimmell had testified during the coroner's inquest, saying she thought both the Miller and Nickell families responsible for maintaining the feud, but she was never called as a defense witness. She had resigned from the school in October and left the area, but was in communication with people in the case. Horn's trial went to the jury on October 23, and they returned a guilty verdict the next day.

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Horn's attorneys filed a petition with the Wyoming Supreme Court for a new trial. It contained little about the case. Convinced of Horn's innocence, Glendolene Kimmell sent an affidavit to Governor Fenimore Chatterton with testimony reportedly saying that Victor Miller was guilty of Nickell's murder.

Accounts of its contents appeared in the press, but the original document has since disappeared. Horn was initially given an execution date of November 20, Tom Horn was one of the few people in the "Wild West" to have been hanged by a water-powered gallows, known as the "Julian Gallows. Julian, a Cheyenne, Wyoming architect, designed the contraption in The trap door was connected to a lever which pulled the plug out of a barrel of water.

This would cause a lever with a counterweight to rise, pulling on the support beam under the gallows. When enough pressure was applied, the beam broke free, opening the trap and hanging the condemned man.


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  • Horn was hanged in Cheyenne. At that time, Horn never gave up the names of those who had hired him during the feud. Even the old Apache warrior, Geronimo , expressed his doubts about Horn's charges during an interview with Charles Ackenhausen, saying that he "did not believe [Horn] guilty. Visiting Horn's grave in , Willie Nickell's cousin, investigator Joe Nickell , who was suffering from a broken leg, managed "a sort of hop and skip" on the grave feeling that it was appropriate, given Horn's murder of Nickell's ancestor.

    It is still debated whether Horn was responsible for Nickell's murder. Historians including Chip Carlson believe he did not, while others such as Dean Fenton Krakel believe that he did, but had not realized he was shooting a boy. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, This book is unique in that its historical narrative and focus are played out against a single individual and an unanswered literary question. In setting the two ranching frontiers in the United States and Canada against the experiences of Everett Johnson who lived on both, John Jennings brings a new dimension to what has become an ongoing debate about the nature of two parallel ranching traditions.

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    It is also personal. The book is well-illustrated and augmented by a Prologue which features pertinent extracts from The Virginian. In a lengthy Introduction, Jennings sees violence and vigilantism as crucial components of the American frontier experience. He argues that their roots lay in an inadequate system of land tenure with its liberal interpretation of the public domain, and a weak, fragmented legal enforcement regime.

    He also sees the lingering respectability of vigilantism in American culture as an unfortunate modern by-product. On the other hand, Jennings takes the view advanced by David Breen almost forty years ago that an orderly western Canadian ranching frontier was enabled by a centralized leasehold system of land tenure and the presence of a federal law enforcement agency in the form the North-West Mounted Police.

    Essentially, he tries to reinforce these arguments in the narrative by situating Everett Johnson on both frontiers to see their unfolding through his eyes. Visiting Horn's grave in , Willie Nickell's cousin, investigator Joe Nickell , who was suffering from a broken leg, managed "a sort of hop and skip" on the grave feeling that it was appropriate, given Horn's murder of Nickell's ancestor. It is still debated whether Horn was responsible for Nickell's murder. Historians including Chip Carlson believe he did not, while others such as Dean Fenton Krakel believe that he did, but had not realized he was shooting a boy.

    Tom Horn trial, concluded that although Horn could have committed the murder of Willie Nickell, he probably did not. According to Carlson's book, Tom Horn: Blood on the Moon , there was no physical evidence that Horn had committed the murder. In addition, he was last seen in the area the day before it occurred, and the conditions of his alleged confession made it without value as evidence.

    Carlson believed the prosecution made no efforts to investigate other possible suspects, including Victor Miller. In essence, Horn's reputation and history made him an easy target for the prosecution. The case was retried in a mock trial in in Cheyenne, and Horn was acquitted.

    Ball was fascinated by Horn's conflicting and enigmatic personality. Ball said that he is convinced that Horn shot and killed Willie Nickell near the Iron Mountain area: "I have to fall back on the historical record. He added that Horn's penchant for brutality contributed to his being convicted of the murder. At a discussion of their findings that year, Chip Carlson of Cheyenne continued his support of Horn's innocence, saying: "I maintain that Tom Horn was railroaded" because Horn had been employed by cattle barons who were at odds with the homesteaders. Carlson also noted that the presiding judge at Horn's trial was a candidate for reelection at the time.

    Carlson described Horn in the trial as "his own worst enemy.