Biggest Legends of The West in One Photograph: Fake or Real?

Ran across this image of some of the most amazing legends of the west taken together in 1883 at Hunters Hot Springs in Montana.

Wild West Roundup

In this photo are some of the most iconic and notorious Lawmen and Outlaws of the American west. If it seems unbelievable that they could have been in the same place at the same time for this photo, that’s because it is. Here are some facts:

  • Wyatt Earp 1848 – 1929 : Lawman involved in the famous gunfight at the OK Corral in 1881.
  • Morgan Earp 1851 – 1882: Brother of Wyatt and also a lawman. Was with Wyatt at the OK Corral. Though he survived that incident and an amubush in 1882, he was shot while playing billiards on March 18th 1882.
  • Doc Holliday 1851 – 1887: While not a law man, Holiday was a friend of Wyatt Earp and assisted him at the OK Corral. Holiday was a gambler, gunfighter and dentist. Despite his reckless ways, he died of tuberculosis in bed with his boots off in Glenwood Springs Colorado.
  • Teddy Rosevelt Unknown: While Teddy Roosevelt (1858 – 1919) was alive in 1883 and president of the US from 1901 – 1909, he was a New York State Assemblyman, historian and writer at the time of this photo. He didn’t leave for his adventures in the Dakotas until the death of his mother and wife in 1884. But Teddy Rosevelt is in this photo and I can’t find anything on him.
  • Liver Eating Johnson 1824 – 1900: A naval man turned gold miner turned woodhawk, Johnson was about the right age in 1883 to have a big white beard, but he was, “described as a large man, standing around six feet tall and weighing over two hundred pounds.” So this doesn’t appear to be him.
  • Butch Cassidy 1866 – ??? : Robert LeRoy Parker would have been just 17 in this photo. Which is vaguely plausible. Though he later became a notorious outlaw, that wasn’t until after about 1889 when he assisted in robbing the San Miguel Bank in Telluride, CO.
  • Sundance Kid 1867 – ???: Harry Alonzo Longbaugh was only 16 in 1883 an not known to have met Butch Cassidy until after Cassidy was released from prison in 1896.
  • Bat Masterson 1853 – 1921: Buffalo Hunter, U.S. Marshall and Army Scout, Masterson served with Wyatt Earp in Kansas. Masterson was in Dodge City, Kansas during 1883 for the Dodge City War, so it is unlikely he was in Montana for this photograph.
  • Harry Britton: Unknown. He very well could have been there.
  • Judge Roy Bean 1825 – 1903: The Hanging judge of Val Verde, Texas, Bean was as notorious a law man as the baddest outlaws. While he was a judge in Texas in 1883, it’s possible he could have made a quick trip to Montana.
  • Ben Greenough: Unknown

I say this photo is a fake, to more specifically, that the hand written caption is fake. I still might buy a print though.

Source:OLD WEST 1883 Gathering Wyatt Earp Butch Cassidy POSTER | eBay.

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2 Responses to Biggest Legends of The West in One Photograph: Fake or Real?

  1. Ray Colon December 28, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    Hi Mike,

    Your research certainly debunks the authenticity of this photo as a representation of most of the named individuals, so it’s curious to me why you would consider buying the print. 

  2. BloggerFather January 4, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    I’ve seen it before–but never thought it could be fake. I’m skeptical of everything on the Internet, but I believe everything that existed before that…

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