Tuesday, Sep 2020

Following is a passage from the book, Log of a Cowboy, written in 1903 by Andy Adams:

"I've been in Dodge every summer since '77," said the old cowman, and I can give you boys some points. Dodge is one town where the average bad man of the West not only finds his equal, but finds himself badly handicapped. The buffalo hunters and range men have protested against the iron rule of Dodge's peace officers, and nearly every protest has cost human life. Don't ever get the impression that you can ride your horses into a saloon, or shoot out the lights in Dodge; it may go somewhere else, but it don't go there. So I want to warn you to behave yourselves. You can wear your six-shooters into town, but you'd better leave them at the first place that you stop, hotel, livery or business house. And when you leave town, call for your pistols, but don't ride out shooting; omit that. Most cowboys think its an infringment of their rights to give up shooting in town, and if it is, it stands, for your six-shooters are no match for Winchesters and buckshot; and Dodge's officers are as game a set of men as ever faced danger."Nearly a generation has passed since McNulta, the Texan cattle drover, gave our outfit this advice one June morning on the Mulberry, and in setting down this record, I have only to scan the roster of the peace officials of Dodge city to admit its correctness. Among the names that graced the official roster, during the brief span of the trail days, were the brothers Ed, Jim, and 'Bat' Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Jack Bridges, 'Doc' Holliday, Charles Bassett, William Tillman, 'ShotGun' Collins, Joshua Webb, Mayor A. B. Webster, and 'Mysterious' Dave Mather. The puppets of no romance ever written can compare with these officers in fearlessness. And let it be understood, there were plenty to protest against their rule; almost daily during the range season some equally fearless individual defied them. (142)"

Some professor, a professor in the occult sciences I think he called himself, had written to the mayor to know what kind of a point Dodge would be for a lecture. The lecture was to be free, but he also intimated that he had a card or two on the side up his sleeve, by which he expected to graft onto some of the coin of the realm from the wayfaring man as well as the citizen. The mayor turned the letter over to Bat Masterson, the city marshal, who answered it, and invited the professor to come on, assuring him that he was deeply interested in the occult sciences, personally, and would take pleasure in assuring him a hall and a date, besides announcing his coming through the papers.Well he was billed to deliver his lecture last night . . . . we were assured that we couldn't afford to miss it. Well, at the appointed hour in the evening, the hall was packed, not over half being able to find seats. It is safe to say that there were over 500 men present, as it was announced for 'men only.' Every gambler in town was there with a fair sprinkling of cowmen and our tribe. At the appointed hour, Masterson, as chairman, rapped for order, and in a neat little speech announced the object of the meeting. Bat mentioned the lack of interest in the West in the higher arts and sciences, and bespoke our careful attention to the subject under consideration for the evening. He said he felt it hardly necessary to urge the importance of good order, but if anyone had come out of idle curiosity or bent on mischief, as chairman of the meeting and a peace officer of the city, he would certainly brook no interruption. After a few other appropriate remarks, he introduced the speaker as Dr. J. Graves-Brown, the noted scientist.The professor was an oily-tongued fellow, and he led off on the prelude to his lecture, while the audience was as quiet as mice and as grave as owls. After he had spoken about 5 minutes and was getting warmed up to his subject, he made an assertion which sounded a little fishy, and someone in the back of he audience blurted out, "That's a damned lie." The speaker halted in his discourse and looked at Masterson, who arose, and, drawing two six-shooters, looked the audience over as if trying to locate the offender. Laying the guns down on the table, he informed the meeting that another interruption would cost the offender his life, if he had to follow him to the Rio Grande or the British possessions. He then asked the professor, as there would be no further interruptions, to proceed with is lecture. The professor hesitated about going on, when Masterson assured him that it was evident that his audience, with the exception of one skulking coyote, was deeply interested in the subject, but that no man could interfere with the freedom of speech in Dodge as long as it was a free country and he was city marshal. After his little talk, the speaker braced up and launched out again on his lecture. When he was once more under good headway, he had an occasion to relate an exhibition which he had witnessed while studying his profession in India. The incident related was a trifle rank for anyone to swallow raw, when the same party who had interrupted before sang out, "That's another damn lie."Masterson came to his feet like a flash, a gun in each hand saying, "Stand up, you measely skunk, so I can see you." Half a dozen men rose in different parts of the house and cut loose at him, and as they did the lights went out and the room filled with smoke. Masterson was blazing away with two guns, which so lighted up the rostrum that we could see the professor crouching under the table. Of course they were using blank cartridges, but the audience raised the long yell and poured out through the windows and doors and the lecture was over. A couple of police came in later . . .escorted he professor to his room in the hotel and quietly advised him that Dodge was hardly capable of appreciating anything so advanced as a lecture on the occult sciences." (144-46)

Back To Top