By John W. Davis
For weeks in 1902 it commanded headlines. All of Wyoming and lots more and plenty of the West the trial of Tom Horn for the homicide of a fourteen-year-old boy. John W. Davis’s e-book, the single full-length account of the trial, areas it in viewpoint as a part of a bigger fight for keep watch over of Wyoming’s grazing land. Davis additionally portrays an enigmatic defendant who, greater than a century after his conviction and putting, perplexes us still.
Tom Horn used to be the most interesting figures within the heritage of the West. hired as a Pinkerton after which as a variety detective, he had a name as a loner and a braggart with a brutal method of legislation enforcement even sooner than he was once accused of murdering younger Willie Nickell. Cattlemen observed Horn as retaining their lifestyle, yet most folks in Wyoming observed him as a employed murderer, an device of oppression by way of farm animals barons keen to take advantage of violent intimidation to guard their assets.
the tale all started on July 18, 1901, while Willie Nickell used to be shot through a gunman mendacity in ambush; the killer was once it sounds as if after Willie’s father, who had introduced sheep into the world. Six months later Tom Horn used to be arrested. The trial pitted the Laramie County district legal professional opposed to a crack workforce of security legal professionals employed by way of vast cattlemen. opposed to all predictions, the jury came upon Horn accountable of first-degree homicide. regardless of appeals that went the entire technique to the kingdom ideally suited court docket and the governor, Horn used to be hanged in Cheyenne in 1903.
The trial and conviction of Tom Horn marked an enormous milestone within the hard-fought conflict opposed to vigilantism in Wyoming. Davis, himself an ordeal legal professional, has mined court docket records and newspaper articles to dissect the trial suggestions of the engaging lawyers. His distinctive account illuminates a bigger narrative of clash among the facility of wealth and the forces of legislations and order within the West.
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