19 October 2015

I Like The Story Better Than The Facts (Updated)

Charlie Storms was one of the best-known gamblers in the entire West and had, on several occasions, successfully defended himself in pistol fights with Western 'gun-fighters'...
Charlie Storms and I were very close friends, as much as Short and I were, and for that reason I did not care to see him get into what I knew would be a very serious difficulty. Storms did not know Short and, like the bad man in Leadville, had sized him up as an insignificant-looking fellow, whom he could slap in the face without expecting a return. Both were about to pull their pistols when I jumped between them and grabbed Storms, at the same time requesting Luke not to shoot, a request I knew he would respect if it was possible without endangering his own life too much. I had no trouble in getting Storms out of the house, as he knew me to be his friend. When Storms and I reached the street, I advised him to go to his room and take a sleep, for I then learned for the first time that he had been up all night, and had been quarreling with other persons...
I was just explaining to Luke that Storms was a very decent sort of man when, lo and behold! There he stood before us, without saying a word, he took hold of Luke's arm and pulled him off the sidewalk, where he had been standing, at the same time pulling his pistol, a Colt's cut-off, 45 calibre, single action; but like the lead villain, he was too slow, although he succeeded in getting his pistol out. Luke stuck the muzzle of his pistol against Storm's heart and pulled the trigger. The bullet tore the heart asunder and, as he was falling, Luke shot him again. Storms was dead when he hit the ground.
-- Bat Masterson

That's the facts as revealed by someone who was there.

The story, colorfully told by Mr Willard differs...

Luke Short, having a Colt Lightning, was a bit quicker on the draw than Charlie Storms; and shot Mr Storms right thumb off before he could cock his pistol.  While Mr Storms was changing hands; Mr Short delivered the fatal shots.

From Wikipedia.

Luke Short was a gunfighter, gambler and bar owner who had drifted down to Fort Worth from Dodge City, Kansas. While in Dodge City, Short had dabbled in gambling, and became friends with several other noted Old West figures, such as Bat Masterson, Jim Masterson and Wyatt Earp, who had also become friends with Courtright. In Fort Worth, he managed the White Elephant, a saloon/gambling house.
Some claim that Marshal Courtright was running a protection racket at the time, and needed to make an example of Short, who also had a sizable reputation as a gunfighter mostly due to an 1881 gunfight with gunslinger Charlie Storms at the Oriental Saloon in Tombstone, Arizona. Most historians believe that Courtright offered protection to the White Elephant and that Short informed him that he did not need his protection. The two men did not get along.
On February 8, 1887, at about 8:00 p.m., Courtright called Luke Short out of the White Elephant. When Short walked outside, both men walked up the street one block, until they were in front of bar and brothel owner Ella Blackwell's Shooting Gallery. According to reports, few words had been spoken, and the two men moved apart facing one another. Words were passed, and evidently Courtright, who had been drinking considerably, had made some indication about Short having a gun. Short assured Courtright he was not armed, although he was, of course.
Short moved slowly toward Courtright, saying that he could have a look himself, at which point he pulled open his vest. Probably mostly for the sake of bystanders and justification, Courtright said loudly "Don't you pull a gun on me."
With that statement, Courtright drew his pistol, but according to reports it hung for just a second on his watch-chain, and in that second Short produced his pistol and fired one shot, which took off Courtright's thumb on his shooting hand. As Courtright attempted to shift his pistol to his other hand, Short fired four more shots in quick succession. Courtright fell backward and died shortly thereafter.

1 comment:

  1. Jim Courtright not Charlie Storms. Damn your eyes Moriarty.


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