Know Your Texas History: Frank Hamer’s Sweetwater Gunfight

Frank Hamer’s Sweetwater Fight: Lessons Learned


As a writer and old west “enthusiast” I absolutely love reading about the old Texas warhorses like Frank Hamer.

Men who were cut from rawhide and raised in the traditions of the 19th century old west but forced to live in the modern “civilized” 20th century.

In short, men who were the last of the Old West Gunfighters.

“When we talk about personal defense, we may spend too much time talking about attacks from criminals who are not known to us.

It is also a good idea to realize that dangerous encounters can occur with people who are known to us. This reality should also be considered when we are formulating our own personal defense plans. That said, the overpowering urge should always be to find a way to avoid trouble whenever it is the least bit possible.”


For further reading on Hamer, I highly recommend these two books:

I’m Frank Hamer: The Life of a Texas Peace Officer

Manhunter: Frank Hamer, Texas Ranger (A Novel based on the Life and Times of Frank Hamer, Texas Ranger)


Hardin’s Deadly Tools

Hardin’s Deadly Tools


As a proud Texan I have always had a fascination with John Wesley Hardin.

This article is spot-on accurate when it comes to the details of Hardin’s last “gunfight” in the Acme saloon. This was surprsingly not an uncommon tactic by men wearing a tin star in the Old West when it came to facing known “gunhands” or gunfighters.

The so-called “lawmen” would seek to take the chance out of the confrontation and just flat our murder the man without a word being said thus ensuring that history would be written by the victors.

If you want to read some original short fiction by yours truly based on Hardin’s early life, check out Of Kith and Kin.


Studying the Historic Gunfighters

Studying the Historic Gunfighters


Really decent Reading List of Books Dealing with 20th Century Gunfighters of the Old West.


Brush-Up On Your History: 6 Real Life Gunslingers Who Put Billy the Kid to Shame


If some bizarre criminal held you at gunpoint and asked you to name six gravel-shitting badasses from the Old West, you’d probably get as far as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday before you started wondering whether the Lone Ranger was based on a real person. But a closer look at Old West history reveals a solid collection of mighty gunmen who didn’t get their own movies, possibly because they were too busy kicking ass to waste time telling everyone how awesome they were.

#6. Buckshot Roberts Defeats Billy the Kid’s Entire Gang by Himself

Andrew “Buckshot” Roberts is probably best known for killing Charlie Sheen while taking a dump inYoung Guns. The actual story of that day is no less amazing.

You see, Billy the Kid (the famous gunfighter and co-author of Bill and Ted’s history report) and his gang the Regulators had a warrant for Roberts’ arrest, implicating him in the murder of a rancher named John Tunstall, whom Billy used to work for. Roberts didn’t actually have anything to do with Tunstall’s death, but he was a shit-kicking Texas outlaw who didn’t shy away from gunfights, so when Billy and his gang staged an ambush, Roberts was more than happy to engage in a free exchange of bullets.

That’s right — rather than surrender when he realized he was surrounded by 14 Regulators (that’s enough guys to field one and a half heavily armed baseball teams), Roberts instead told them all to go straight to hell.

As the battle commenced, Roberts was hit in the groin almost immediately, which would’ve taken the fight out of Quick Draw McGraw himself. But Roberts continued firing until his rifle was empty, wounding three Regulators and taking them out of the fight. Billy the Kid tried to take advantage of Roberts’ dick wound by rushing him, but Roberts took his empty rifle and clubbed the blazing pigshit out of him.

Roberts retreated into a house to reload, where Regulator Dick Brewer (Charlie Sheen’s character in the movie) tried to sneak up on him. Roberts spotted Brewer and blasted his head into skull-and-brains confetti. At that point, Billy the Kid decided it was way too early in the day for any more of this bullshit and ordered his gang to beat feet, leaving Buckshot Roberts alone to bleed to death a day later. Go back and read that sentence again — one of the most famous gunfighters in history, backed up by his entire gang, wasn’t enough to bring the mortally wounded Buckshot Roberts down.

#5. James Riley Shoots an Entire Saloon and Vanishes

James Riley was an 18-year-old kid stricken with tuberculosis, meaning the guy could barely get out of bed without vomiting up a gallon of lung tissue like Val Kilmer in Tombstone. But when his mentor was gunned down in front of him, the sickly young Riley managed to perforate the four ruthless bastards responsible in a matter of seconds, all for the sake of righteous revenge.

You see, Riley had been taken under the wing of a policeman named Mike McCluskie, who taught him how to shoot and, presumably, how to chew tobacco and whistle at busty corseted women. In 1871, McCluskie was cornered in a saloon by four gruff Texans looking to settle a score, since McCluskie had killed a friend of theirs (probably while fulfilling his duties as a police officer, but this was the Old West, so it’s really anyone’s guess). The four cowboys unloaded on McCluskie, chewing him up into a pile of pulpy red mist as Riley looked on in horror.

However, instead of hacking up the rest of his lungs in terrified spasms like some knee-knocking wiener, Riley stood up to face the four armed men who had just killed his only friend and proceeded to unleash a storm of Pacino-esque fury on McCluskie’s killers, eliminating two of the men and severely wounding the other two (and killing two bystanders in the process). When the smoke in the saloon finally cleared, Riley was gone, never to be seen or heard from again

That part isn’t legend, by the way — immediately after avenging his friend’s death, James Riley walked out of the saloon, into the desert, and freaking disappeared. Nobody knows where he went or where and when he died. He’s like a gun-slinging phantom.

Read the Remainder at Cracked