Actual Unseen Wild West Photos Revealed After 130 Years
Actual Unseen Wild West Photos Revealed After 130 Years
While the Wild West is best noted for Cowboys and Indian standoffs, railroad wars, battles of lands and lawmen who frequently took things into their own hands, not much is known about the average citizen’s life during this time.
There were farmers, homesteaders, laborers and hardworking housewives to name a few that are hardly noted. Click NEXT to see rare photos of what civilian life was like in Wild West.
America's Best Known Frontiersmen
One of America’s best known frontiersmen, Kit Christopher Carson played a leading role in the development of California. Kit was illiterate, and it’s likely his embarrassment about that led him to spend more time with Natives.
In total, Kit fathered 10 children with three different wives, two Natives, and one Mexican.
Buffalo Bill’s and His Performers
This image features of group of Buffalo Bill’s cowboy performers for his gun re-enactments. These gentlemen were likely to be the best sharpshooters in the nation at the time, as getting hired wasn’t easy.
However, one getting in, they enjoyed the generous payment for participating in the sow.
Not only did Charlie Siringo work as a detective at the Pinkerton Detective Agency, he became a whistleblower sharing the agencies darkest secrets.
His book “A Cowboy Detective” was a successful and engaging tell-all even though the agency went above and beyond trying to stop him.
The Most Famous Photographer
Cameras were not commonplace in the Old West, and Timothy H. O’Sullivan ultimately became the most famous photographer of the era. Here, we see his mobile darkroom wagon in the Carson Sink led by mules.
His camera and darkroom were the keys to his success along with his keen eye for interesting subject matter.
There was gang involvement during the Civil War, and Bloody Bill was known as the savage leader of Quantrill’s Raiders. As a Confederate, he and his gang would take out as many Union soldiers as possible when given an opportunity.
He and his gang reportedly took out more than 100 soldiers in one engagement.
In this tintype photograph from 1870, we see an unidentified member of the Cherokee tribe who are one of the Five Civilized Tribes that were relocated onto Indian Territory. Here we see a man holding a golden hued knife and donning the clothing only typical at that time of the ‘civilized’ white man.
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show
Born William Cody, Buffalo Bill created a highly popular entertainment program known as the “Wild West Show.” It began in 1883 and went on successfully for many decades as the show toured the states and wowing them with gun fight re-enactments and other acts. This image shows a group of his performers who traveled with show.
The Most Dangerous Trail
As seen in the photo of a group traversing the steep and dangerous Sierra Nevada Mountain Trail, travel wasn’t easy for all early settlers. In fact, the wealthy would hire an armed group to protect themselves and their valuables on risky routes such as this one.
Female Stagecoach Robber
Pearl Hart wasn’t a woman to be messed with in the wild west, and she gain notoriety due to her proclivities as a female stagecoach robber.
She often passed for a man, as she had short hair, dressed in men’s clothing and carried a big gun. Ultimately, she was sentenced to prison for five years for her crimes.
Bandits of the Wild West
It’s unknown who the men are in this photo, as there were numerous gangs amid the wild west. What is known is that they are one of those gangs, so experts suggest that the man in the center is John Kinney.
If this is true, this photo would depict members of the John Kinney Gang.
Here, we see a group of men in front of a cave-like entrance in the late 1800s. Their goal was to mine for gold, copper or silver in hopes of reaping big payouts in addition to the mine owners when they found the goods.
This was a dangerous job, but these men were willing to take the risk.
Early Texas Rangers
Many people don’t know that the early Texas Rangers were not Texans nor were they outlaws—they were Comanches. In this image from 1868 we see John J. Haynes on the right and James Thomas Bird on the left. Interestingly, their attire resembles that of Civil War guerrillas, which severely contrasts with the cowboy attire of latter Texas Rangers.
Fugitive On the Run
This double image is the initial wanted dead or alive poster seeking fugitive Bill Doolin. Next to it, we see the man’s dead body once bounty hunter Marshal Heck Thomas caught up to him and killed him with 20 buckshot wounds.
While it wouldn’t be acceptable today, bounty hunters often took such photos to prove they had done the job.
The Dalton Gang
Once respected lawmen who were tired of not getting compensated for their work, the Dalton brothers formed their own gang and turned to the ‘bad’ side of the law. Best known for robbing banks and trains, they finally ran out of luck in 1892 during a bank robbery in Coffeyville, Kansas.
Two brothers died when their scheme went amiss, but the brother Emmett took 23 bullets and miraculously managed to survive only to serve 14 years in prison.
Chinese immigrants were often put into concentration camps and later forced into cheap free labor to build railroads. Not only did they make less than half the wages of white workers, they were forced to buy their own food and transport their camps when non-Chinese workers had these necessities supplied for them. Here, we see a group of Chinese laborers.
Cherokee statesman Ned Christie had a reputation for taking on the lawmen in the Americas. So much so that these engagements were dubbed as ‘Ned Christie’s War.’ He was accused of many crimes wrongfully and put on trial.
Even though he was proven innocent in a trial, his home was destroyed by fire by incited law men in 1892. Three years later, the lawmen revisited Ned Christie and killed him.
Bathing in the Wild Wild West
It simply wasn’t feasible to bathe daily in this era, and there were actually wives tales that claimed sickness was due to taking a bath! While men often stopped at water pools such as the one we see in the image, women often took pitchers of water and a cloth to clean up.