The Old West wasn’t the violent bloodbath that Hollywood movies would have you believe. Law enforcement was sparse, though, meaning that many men and women armed themselves for self-protection. Once in a while, simmering feuds boiled over into fights that could only be settled with gunpowder, and lawmen stepped into the fray in hopes of keeping anarchy and mob rule at bay. What do you know about the gunfighters of the Wild West in this quiz?
It’s almost impossible to mention gunfighters without mentioning the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, a fight so famous that it gets capital letters in the same format as a battle or a war. There, four (sort of) law-abiding men confronted a group of outlaw cowboys … and that half a minute of gunfire still echoes around the world’s popular culture. Do you know the men who shot each other up that fateful day?
Unlike the movies, men who lived by the gun did — quite literally — die by the gun, too. For every killing of vengeance, or even justice, it seems that there was always another bullet to balance the scales. Do you know how the most famous lawmen and outlaws met their ends?
From the tragedy of Morgan Earp to the treachery of Robert Ford and the supposed heroics of Jesse James, guns and their bloody consequences created legends and lore unique to American (and world) history. Take our famous gunfighter quiz now!
Cassidy was the undisputed leader of the Wild Bunch gang that robbed banks and trains in the Old West. He and and an accomplice nicknamed "The Sundance Kid" escaped the country and no one’s sure what became of them.
Holliday was an educated man who set up a dental practice in the East. But he wandered out West for health reasons and wound up becoming one of the most famous gunfighters in the Old West.
Billy joined forces with the Regulators in the 1870s, taking part in the infamous Lincoln County War. As part of the conflict, Billy and the other Regulators were charged with killing numerous other men.
All four of the lawmen were charged with murder by Ike Clanton, whose outlaw brother Billy was killed during the gunfight. After a month-long ordeal, a judge found the men innocent, as they were performing their civic duty.
Jesse James wielded his guns to rob trains, banks and stagecoaches. He served with the Confederacy during the Civil War and kept violence as part of his lifestyle in the Wild West era.
Revolvers get all of the glory in Old West lore, but Billy the Kid reportedly liked his Model 1873 carbine, a popular rifle from Winchester. The carbine’s short barrel made it easy to whip around in close-quarters fights.
James and his brother Frank robbed a bank in Gallatin, Missouri in the winter of 1869. Jesse gunned down a teller at the bank ... and lamely tried to use revenge as his excuse.
Billy the Kid was actually Henry McCarty. He killed at least eight men during his iconic role in the Old West.
The two outlaws knew they couldn’t outrun American marshals forever. No one is certain, but some reports said the two died in a hail of gunfire from Bolivian law enforcement in 1908.
In Waco, Texas, Hardin was arrested after shooting a local lawman. He then escaped from captivity and went back to his life of crime.
Miller was often called "Deacon Jim" because he always went to church to worship. But when people heard that the criminally murderous "Deacon" was headed their way, they often cowered in fear.
Earp, like many men of the Old West, was a prodigious gambler. As a restless soul, he used gambling to make quick money as he tramped from one boomtown to the next.
Jesse James became a famous outlaw when he began robbing banks in the Missouri area in the 1860s. He was shot dead by Robert Ford, a new member of his own gang.
For years, Billy the Kid ran wild in the Wild West. But lawman Pat Garrett finally tracked him down — and then shot him to death in a darkened house.
Longabaugh was a gunman and robber who was known as "The Sundance Kid." Along with Butch Cassidy, the duo successfully conducted heist after heist ... without ever getting caught.
Black Jack joined the notorious Hole in the Wall gang and took up train robbery. He was hanged by law enforcement ... and in the course of his execution, his head popped right off of his body.
Hart was just a young woman when she help up a stagecoach using a .38 revolver. She and her accomplice, Joe Boot, made off with hundreds of dollars in the robbery.
In October 1881, Virgil Earp led the charge against the infamous outlaw Cowboys at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. He and his men were triumphant ... but friends of the outlaws would eventually get their revenge.
Henry McCarty — Billy the Kid — first used William Bonney as his alias. And it is, in some ways, a more ominous name given McCarty’s murderous ways.
Angry about the deaths of their outlaw friends, gunmen ambushed and shot Virgil Earp a few months after the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He survived but was maimed for life.
"Wild Bill" Hickock is still one of the best-known figures of the Old West. He was a gambler and lawman who became a legend before he was shot in the back during an 1876 poker game.
Miller assassinated a deputy marshal ... and the locals were none too happy about it. Angry at Miller’s muderous ways, a mob swept him up and lynched him on the spot.
Cody was the famed "Buffalo Bill," who was only in his 20s when built his legend as a marksman in the West. He spent much of his young life hunting bison as his livelihood. He also got himself into the path of a lot of gunfire.
“Killin’ Jim" was absolutely murderous with a gun. Historians think he may have killed 12 people, a number that may have made him tops in terms of Old West body count.
Loving was a prolific gambler and gunman who earned the nickname "Cockeyed" during his Old West days. He was part of two famous gunfights ... and in the second — the Trinidad gunfight — he was shot and killed.
Hardin was a bloodthirsty killer who may have killed dozens of people during a years-long rampage of crime. He wound up in prison in 1877, sentenced to (only) 25 years for his murders.
It was a sweet score for Cassidy, for sure. That $20,000 was quite a haul — in today’s money, that amount would be worth nearly $600,000.
Alvord was an alcoholic who worked as a lawman in parts of Arizona in the 1890s. His life spiraled into crime, and he became a notorious train robber.
Courtright was a long-haired gunman who worked as a lawman in Fort Worth. He wasn’t exactly a saint — he made business owners pay him for protection and used his position of power to get whatever he wanted.
Earp is legendary for his role in tales of the Old West, especially as he gunned down notable outlaws. But he was a notorious repeat offender in his younger days, to the point where he stole horses and was arrested multiple times.