June 08, 2007 08:00 PM EDT Cincinnati


Cabinet Card Photograph of the Bullet-Riddled Outlaw Bill Doolin

with partial imprint of George Parsons Photo Gallery, Pawhuska, Oklahoma Territory taken on August 25, 1896 after Doolin was felled by shotgun blasts and gunfire from lawmen.

Bill Doolin (1858-1896) was by all accounts a dangerous man. Born in Arkansas, he drifted West to Indian Territory and early in his life learned the cattle and ranching trade, working on ranches in Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico and California. After a drunken shoot-out in Kansas in which two deputies were killed, he turned to a life of crime. At various points in his criminal career, he was charged with bank and train robbery, rustling, selling whiskey to Indians and, of course, murder.

Doolin is rumored to have taken part in the Dalton Gang's thwarted attempt to rob two banks at once in Coffeyville, Kansas, though some have suggested he was prevented from accompanying the gang because his horse drew up lame. Others suggest Doolin held horses to be used in the escape in a Coffeyville alley.

Throughout the early 1890s Doolin and his gang operated out of Oklahoma Territory, committing a series of train robberies and murders in both that territory and neighboring Kansas and Missouri. After an April 1895 train robbery near Dover, Oklahoma Territory he fled for New Mexico, holing up for a time before settling in the Flint Hills of Kansas. While taking the waters at a Eureka Springs, Arkansas resort, he was arrested by Marshal "Big Bill" Tilghman in January 1896, and extradited to Guthrie, Oklahoma. Huge crowds reportedly gathered to see "the king of the outlaws". He escaped from jail on July 5, and was eventually tracked down near Lawton, Oklahoma where he was killed by Marshal Heck Thomas and Bill and Bee Dunn. An exceptionally scarce image.

Provenance:The Mike Butler Collection of Western Photography

Condition:Fair, with losses of mount and a repaired crack in the middle portion of the print.

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


Have a Similar Item?

Consign With Us