“In Cold Blood. Murder on the Open Range.” Outlaws John Wesley Hardin and Brown Bowen. The True West Learn what the history books do not teach. Experts explain how a South Texas Range War led to John Wesley Hardin’s brother-in-law being hanged. True West History. Desperado Joshua “Brown” Bowen was John Wesley Hardin’s Brother-in-Law. Frontier Law on the Open Range. A dead drunk Thomas Haldeman went to sleep under a tree near Nopal, Texas on December 17, 1872. He never woke up. Witness stated he was murdered by Bowen, who was captured and convicted. Brown Bowen was hanged proclaiming Hardin was the guilty one to the very last. It Was estimated 4,000 people arrived as to feast to witness the human suffering and shedding of human blood for the hanging of Brown Bowen. The gallows were erected between the jail and the jailer’s house so that the prisoner stepped from the head of the stairs onto the platform. The gallows was 17ft. 6 in. from the top beam to the ground. The platform was 10ft. 6in. from the ground. The “fall” was 7 ft. The trap door was sprung by touching a lever whereupon the door fell to the ground. About 2:00 P.M. Mr. Bowen was led to the scaffold. Rev. E.Y. Scales read his final statement “blaming his troubles on keeping bad company and proclaiming he did not murder Thomas Holdeman.” He claimed that J.W. Hardin, with whom he went to town, killed Holdeman because he thought he was a spy for J. Tomlinson, J. Helms and W.W. Davis. Bowen claimed Hardin and Gip Clements went into the store and started drinking. “Hardin told me he was going to show me how to kill a man. I begged him not to as he (Holdeman) was harmless and my friend. Hardin went to Mr. Holdeman and told him that I killed his son.” Bowen Prayed with Rev. Seale, the Noose around his neck. while Mr. Bass was preparing the spring door, Bowen Muttered, “O Lord receive my spirit” The door sprung open and Bowen fell a full 7 ft. In about 6 Min. he was dead. Bowen was a native of Florida.