Gunfighters Didn’t Always Shoot Straight

September 6, 2022

This was borne out in the spring of 1879 in the Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City when a hot-tempered buffalo hunter named Levi Richardson and a professional gambler named Cockeye Frank Loving got into a shootout at Dodge City’s Long Branch Saloon. They’d been poker-playing friends but that soured when Levi got too friendly with Cockeye Frank’s wife Mattie. This turned into an argument that ended with a fist fight. Following a few weeks of taunting they met in the Long Branch and after a brief exchange of war talk both pulled their pistols opened fire quickly filling the saloon with gunsmoke. It didn’t take much black powder smoke to fill a room. Levi chased Cockeye around a potbellied stove and gambling tables so close their pistols were almost touching. Levi fired five times and Loving six.

By the time officers arrived and disarmed the pair both pistols were empty. Cockeye suffered only a scratch on his hand but Levi was hit in the chest, arm and the side. He walked a few steps and keeled over dead.

Cockeye Frank should have worked on his marksmanship for Three years later in Trinidad, Colorado, he got into another shootout with a gambler named Jack Allen. This one began on the evening of April 16th, 1882 and resumed the next day with Cockeye chasing Allen around town. During the ruckus sixteen shots were fired. Allen was hiding in a hardware store when Cockeye came in to get more bullets. Allen shot him in the back. Allen, feeling remorseful afterwards, quit gambling and became an evangelist.

Marshall Trimble