10 Infamous Deadly Real-Life Gun Slingers of the Wild West


12 pointer
Jul 13, 2003
Louisville, KY.
I can't believe John Wesley Hardin wasn't in this. I've read he killed more than anyone in the old west. I would have put him in this list instead of "The Sundance Kid".
10 Infamous Deadly Real-Life Gun Slingers of the Wild West


Gunslinger and gunfighter historically refers to men in the American Old West who had gained a reputation of being dangerous with a gun and had participated in gunfights and shootouts.
Gunfighters range from different occupations including lawman, outlaw, cowboy, exhibitionists and duelist, but are more commonly synonymous to a hired gun who made a living with his weapons in the Old West. Here are the top 10 real-life deadly gunslingers from the wild west era.

  1. Tom Horn Jr.

    was a scout, cowboy, soldier, range detective, and Pinkerton agent in the 19th-century American Old West. Believed to have committed 17 killings as a hired gunman throughout the West.
    Horn allegedly killed his first man in a duel — a second lieutenant in the Mexican Army, whom he killed as a result of a dispute with a prostitute.
    Horn was convicted in 1902 of the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell near Iron Mountain, Wyoming.
    Later in life Horn quickly developed a reputation as a killer-for-hire, and is said to have been responsible for as many as 50 murders in his 43 years of life.
  2. Billy the Kid

    was an American Old West gunfighter who participated in the New Mexico Territory’s Lincoln County War of 1878. He is known to have killed eight men.
    He was portrayed as a cold-blooded killer, history shows that he actually entered a life of crime out of necessity, not meanness.
    According to historians people who knew him called him brave, resourceful, loyal, and possessing a remarkable sense of humor.
    He became a well-known figure in the region when he joined the Regulators and took part in the Lincoln County War. In April 1878, the Regulators killed three men, including Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady and one of his deputies.
    Billy was killed in 1881 by the equally famous, Sheriff Pat Garrett. All told, Billy the Kid is said to have killed a total of 21 men, one for each year of his life.
  3. Wyatt Earp

    was an American Old West gambler, a deputy sheriff in Pima County, and deputy town marshal in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, who took part in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, during which lawmen killed three outlaw cowboys. Considered one of the most famous lawman of all time and an accomplished gunslinger.
    Wyatt Earp is known for leading his ‘Vendetta Ride’. After one of his brothers was shot dead, Earp and his good friend Doc Holliday led a group of gun fighters and were responsible for hosing down at least 30 men connected to the murder.
  4. Doc Holliday

    was an American gambler, gunfighter, and dentist, and a good friend of Wyatt Earp. He is best known for his role as a temporary deputy marshal in the events leading up to and following the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
    After being diagnosed with tuberculosis at age 15, he took up gambling and acquired a reputation as a deadly gunman. He rode with Wyatt Earp during the infamous ‘Vendetta Ride’, and is known to have killed no less than 10 men.
  5. “Wild Bill” Hickock

    was a folk hero of the American Old West known for his work across the frontier as a drover, wagon master, soldier, spy, scout, lawman, gunfighter, gambler, showman, and actor. Also, considered most skilled gunfighter of his time.
    Hickok gained a reputation for being handy with a gun after he killed outlaw David McCanles with a single bullet from 75 yards away. More accurately called a “shootist,” Hickok was one of the very few gunslingers who participated in actual, out-in-the-street “Western-style” quick-draw duels.
  6. Butch Cassidy

    was a notorious American train robber and bank robber, and the leader of a gang of criminal outlaws known as the “Wild Bunch” in the American Old West.
    His last name, Cassidy, was a tribute to his friend and mentor Mike Cassidy who taught him how to shoot.
  7. Harry Alonzo Longabaugh AKA “The Sundance Kid”

    was an outlaw and member of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch in the American Old West. He likely met Butch Cassidy after Parker was released from prison around 1896. Together with the other members of “The Wild Bunch” gang, they performed the longest string of successful train and bank robberies in American history.
    Despite his reputation as a gunfighter, he is not certain to have actually killed anyone.
  8. Jesse James

    was an American outlaw, bank and train robber, guerrilla, and leader of the James–Younger Gang.
    Despite popular portrayals of James as an embodiment of Robin Hood, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, there is no evidence that he and his gang shared any loot from their robberies. Scholars and historians have characterized James as one of many criminals inspired by the regional insurgencies of ex-Confederates following the Civil War, rather than as a manifestation of alleged economic justice or of frontier lawlessness.
  9. Curly Bill Brocius

    was a gunman, rustler and an outlaw Cowboy in the Cochise County area of the Arizona Territory during the early 1880s.
    Brocius had a number of conflicts with the lawmen of the Earp family, and he was named as one of the individuals who participated in Morgan Earp’s assassination. Deputy U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp and a group of deputies including his brother Warren Earp pursued those they believed responsible for Morgan’s death. The Earp posse unexpectedly encountered Curly Bill and other Cowboys on March 24, 1882, at Iron Springs (present day Mescal Springs). Wyatt killed Curly Bill during the shootout.
  10. Jim “Killer” Miller

    was an American outlaw and assassin of the American Old West said to have killed 12 people during gunfights – perhaps the most of his era.
    Miller was referred to by the alias Deacon Jim by some because he regularly attended the Methodist Church and he did not smoke or drink. He was lynched by a mob of angry citizens because of his assassination of a former deputy U.S. marshal.
Which other gunslingers did we not mention?
Last edited:


6 pointer
Nov 14, 2007
pulaski, co
There is the Jesse James cave at Rockcastle Shootng center where he was supposed to have hid out after robbing a bank. I don't remember which bank it was.


6 pointer
Aug 20, 2011
There is the Jesse James cave at Rockcastle Shootng center where he was supposed to have hid out after robbing a bank. I don't remember which bank it was.
Nimrod Long Banking company in Russellville, Ky in 1868. Stole between $9000-$14000 shooting two people including the owner of the bank. Neither died. They captured one of the Shepard brothers and killed the other a few days later.


6 pointer
Aug 20, 2011
I was in Arizona doing some work in a copper mine in Safford, AZ. While out predator hunting one afternoon around the old Ft. Grant we ran across this jewel. This was the old Bonita Store (formally saloon) where Mr. William H Bonny killed his first man (Francis Cahill) for bullying him and became know as the Antrim Kid.


12 pointer
Jun 28, 2012
Yes thanks for the post! So I love conspiracy and mystery type stuff...anybody believe The Kid got away and lived until 1950? I know it shows this in the Young Guns II movie but I also remember there being an episode of Unsolved Mysteries (or the like) that showed some fascinating details in regards to this.


12 pointer
Jul 7, 2012
Jesse James supposedly robbed the bank here in Columbia. They use to do a re-enactment every year on the square at the bank


10 pointer
Feb 4, 2008
That no.1 pic of Tom Horn is really Steve McQueen. Of course, you knew that right? :)

Still an interesting post.