Noted Wyatt Earp and Old West historian Scott Dyke will present a talk on what happened to cause the Lincoln County War in New Mexico as part of his Wild West Series of history talks.
Billy the Kid was one of participants in that dispute that arose between two factions over the control of dry goods and cattle interests in the county, according to Wikipedia. The older, established faction was led by James Dolan, who operated a dry goods monopoly through a general store locally referred to as “The House”. Young newcomers to the county, English-born John Tunstall and his business partner Alexander McSween, with backing from established cattleman John Chisum, opened a competing store in 1876. The two sides gathered lawmen, businessmen, Tunstall’s ranch hands.and criminal gangs to their support. The Dolan faction was allied with Lincoln County Sheriff Brady, and supported by the Jesse Evans Gang. The Tunstall-McSween faction organized their own posse of armed men, known as the Regulators, to defend their position, and had their own lawmen, town constable Richard M. Brewer and Deputy US Marshal Robert A. Widenmann.
The conflict was marked by back-and-forth revenge killings, starting with the murder of Tunstall by members of the Evans Gang. In revenge for this, the Regulators killed Sheriff Brady and others in a series of incidents. Further killings continued unabated for several months, climaxing in the Battle of Lincoln, a five-day gunfight and siege that resulted in the death of McSween and the scattering of the Regulators. After Pat Garrett was named County Sheriff in 1880, he hunted down Billy the Kid, killing two other former Regulators in the process. The war was fictionalized in several Hollywood films, including Sam Peckinpah‘s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, The Left Handed Gun in 1958, John Wayne‘s Chisum in 1970 and Young Guns in 1988.
Dyke, who is also a columnist for the Southern Arizona News-Examiner, will be joined by Tucson Attorney Robert Palmquist, who also conducts western history classes at Pima Community College.
“We will give you the history of this significant fight and examine the causes,” Dyke commented. “Politics and power clashed in New Mexico Territory. There are many murky twists and turns in this story. We will trace its beginnings and continue forward to its conclusion, highlighting the,many characters that were interwoven, and examining the myths that still exist…and the story does not end with The Kid’s demise.”
Dyke has received several state wide awards for his column in the Green Valley News “Meandering the Mesquite” He also is a well known expert on Tombstone and Wyatt Earp.
The presentations previously covered the”Gunfight at the OK Corral” (Series I) and the “Battle of the Little Big Horn” (Series II) that enjoyed sell out crowds.
The event is Monday, February 26, 2018 – 6:00 PM at Quail Creek in the Madera Clubhouse in Green Valley. Tickets are $7 and all applicable taxes are included. All sales are final . There will be no refunds or exchanges. There is a limit of 4 tickets per order.
Seating is on a first come basis. (No assigned seating.)
Learn more and get your tickets here.
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