(1865 - October 1, 1940)
Joe LeFors began his career as a drover and cowboy. He became an inspector/detective running down stolen cattle in Wyoming and Montana. Involved in several gunfights recovering stolen cattle, LeFors, on one occasion had his clothes bullet ridden while killing two thieves.
In Wyoming, he pursued bandits from two train robberies. The Wilcox and Tipton, Wyoming robberies were done by Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch, but the gang was too elusive and LeFors never captured them. If you watch the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the man with the straw hat to which Paul Newman says Who are those guys? is Joe LeFors. They briefly mention his name in the movie.
Later, Joe was a U.S. deputy marshal in Cheyenne, WY where he would become famous for documenting a 'confession' from Tom Horn. A boy named Willie Nickell had been killed and LeFors believed Tom Horn was responsible. Some people believe Tom Horn killed the boy, but most do not. In any event Tom Horn was tried, found guilty and hanged.
Joe LeFors is buried in the Willow Grove Cemetery in Buffalo, Wyoming.
Information compiled by Steve Grimm
Books About Joe LeFors
Joe LeFors by Chip Carlson
Here is an author who has written a couple of well researched books. This book is based on a manuscript by Joe LeFors, but Carlson provides new insight into the person who obtained the "confession" from Tom Horn. Documents showing Tom Horn was probably innocent round out this fine book.
Wyoming Peace Officer by Joe LeFors
This is a hard book to find and commands a high price when you do. It is based on the manuscript written by Joe LeFors.