An epidemic of cattle rustling in southern Wyoming in the 1890s and the desperate straits of stockmen set the stage for this saga of Tom Horn, a former Pinkerton detective, an expert hunter and dead shot, and one of the most mysterious and controversial figures in the history of the Old West. Some radicals in the powerful Wyoming Stock Growers Association turned to the man who once boasted, “Killing men in my specialty; I look to it as a business proposition, and I think I have a corner on the market.” Cattle thieves were duly warned, blood was shed, and Tom Horn was implicated but never charged. Then on the morning of July 18, 1901, Willie Nickell, the fourteen-year-old son of a Wyoming sheepman, was shot. Horn’s career was ended.The arrest, trial, and execution of Tom Horn ignite fireworks in Dean Krakel’s book, and a colorful cast of cattle barons and lawmen adds to the sizzle. A jury convicted Tom Horn, but his hanging did not settle the specter of guilt.
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