The Saratoga Sun -

Horning in on trial


The Grand Encampment Museum (GEM) hosted another of its speaker series events at the Grand Encampment Opera House Thursday.

Valley residents and visitors attending the talk learned about the trial of Tom Horn with speaker John Davis, an attorney and historical author from Worland. Davis’ most recent book, published in March by the University of Oklahoma press, is about the famous trial.

Horn was a scout who also worked as a soldier, cowboy, Pinkerton detective and gunslinger for hire. In 1902, Horn was convicted in the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell near Iron Mountain, Wyoming.

At the time, Horn was a hired gun with a reputation for dealing with cattle rustlers, and had been working in the Chugwater Creek Valley. He was suspected of two other murders of cattle rustlers in the valley, but was only charged with the murder of Nickell, the son of a sheep herder.

After his conviction, Horn was hanged in Cheyenne in 1903. Despite his conviction, many observers at the time debated whether Horn was actually guilty of the crime.

Modern historians continue to debate the trial.

The GEM will also host two other events in the speaker series. The August 10 event will focus on John Wesley Powell, a renowned explorer of the West. The final event August 24, centers on Kit Carson, frontiersman and inspiration for scores of Western dime novels.

The remaining two events will be held at 7 p.m. at the Encampment Opera House.


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