I've driven past the place where Hardin shot Webb many times, as well as the big tree on the courthouse square in Comanche where he was almost lynched. Both sides of my family come from that part of Texas. No doubt Hardin was a badman, but as I recall from some of the research I've done, there's a good chance that Charlie Webb, an old enemy, intended to shoot him in the back.
What I find interesting too is how some outlaws like Jesse James have continued to grow in status yet others like Hardin don't. In the video, they say that some of Hardin's family had been killed by vigilantes while he was on the run after the Webb shooting. That hardly seems like justice.
I wonder, too, why Hardin has not been written about more. He seems more suited to legend than Jesse James and Billy the Kid in many ways.
thanks man for the positiveness. means alot.
Charles, He definitely deserves more acclaim than Billy the Kid. Here’s my simple two cents. You have to have something that catches the imagination of the public. Bill was a young man gunned down by his friend. Jesse James has a cool sounding name and was a modern day Robin Hood of sorts. Hardin really didn’t have any such defining moment. Another interesting point is the Earps were frowned upon by a majority of the townsfolk immediately after the OK Corral. However they are the undisputed heroes today. Josh, No problemo!
In the death gun link it says "Hardin's cousin by marriage, James Miller, known as "Killing Jim" may have killed Pat Garrett in 1908. That's a tangled history.
Don, That is a good link. I'm going to dig around a little more there and see what else I can find.
The last couple of Louis L'Amour stories I've read mention Hardin. He always gets mentioned in the context of gunfighting, usually in a comparative sense—"He's fast, but not as fast as Hardin!" L'Amour seems to think Hardin was one of the fastest, I guess.
Hardin's reputation from first hand accounts including Wild Bill himself confirmed his lethal draw. He also has more confirmed kills than any other gunfighter.
Hardin's an interesting study - he was without doubt psychotic. In one of the histories I read it said his first kill was a negro who refused to get out his way on the sidewalk. This was in 1868 and Harding pumped three bullets into the ex-slave. Killing a negro at that time was not considered a crime and Harding managed to avoid capture. This story was given by Hardin in a statement many years later.Hardin's last words were - "Brown you have four sixes to beat." HE didn't get to throw the dice before being shot three times, the first took him in the head.Bob Dylan did one praise the legend in song, though.
I've never even heard the name before.
Archavist, Interesting facts. I would like to find his biography that the documentary mentions. Maybe because his personality wasn't as affable as Jesse J or Billy the Kid is the reason that he's been marginalized. I understand that he was truly evil but hell the fastest gun in the west that also happens to be psychotic would make for an interesting film today.Patti, We are always happy when our students learn something new at EOPW High.
JWH's book is one that I read as a youngster - would love to read it again. Can even date that because it was after the time I saw the story on 'Tales Of Wells Fargo'. I think it was Lyle Bettger (can never remember or spell his surname properly) who played Hardin.I think Rock Hudson played Hardin in a movie.I read a while back that Hardin, like Ben Thompson, didn't have the looks or the 'romance' about them that made them suitable for the movies. It was easier to go with the likes of Jesse James - the Robin Hood of the wild west and the Earps and Billy The Kid.
Ray, Isn't that always the case that it comes down to looks and swagger. I bet there's a good screenplay waiting for someone willing to invest the time about Hardin. A reboot of John Wesley. I don't remember the Hudson film but I will keep it in mind.
Found it - The Lawless Breed - made in 1953 with Rock Hudson as John Wesley Hardin.
Thanks Ray. I'm doing some western DVD buying today and I'll look for it...
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