George S. Patton – Hunting Poncho Villa
George S. Patton is not someone often compared to the Old West. Most who know the name remember him for his exploits during WWII (or for the eponymous Oscar-award winning movie named after him). However, the famed General earned his own kind of infamy in his youth. In the final days of the era, a young 2nd Lt. George S. Patton was attached to the Army Expeditionary force hunting the famed revolutionary-turned-outlaw Poncho Villa in Northern Mexico.
On May 14th, 1916, Patton raided the San Miguelito Ranch near Rubio, Chihuahua. Patton was out looking to buy some corn when he came across the ranch of Julio Cárdenas, a military leader in Poncho Villa’s organization. Taking fifteen men and three Dodge touring cars, Patton ended up leading what was to become America’s first motorised military action. In the ensuing gunfight, he personally shot Cárdenas and two other men dead. He then strapped the dead men to the hood of the cars and drove them back to General Pershing, the leader of the expedition’s headquarters. Patton is said to have carved three notches into the twin Colt Peacemakers he carried, representing the men he killed that day. In response to his actions, General Pershing nicknamed him the “Bandito.”
Image Source: Bettmann/Getty Images
Ned Christie – Ned Christie’s War
On May 3, 1887, US Deputy Marshal Daniel Maples led a posse into Indian territory in Oklahoma, trying to clamp down on the illegal whiskey trade. He was shot and killed in an ambush by someone who escaped without being identified. Ned Christie, an upstanding citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a close advisor to the Chief was falsely blamed and forced to flee into the wilds.
What followed was a five year running battle, known in the newspapers as “Ned Christie’s War.” The innocent former-blacksmith managed to build a makeshift fort atop a hill overlooking his former home after a posse burned his old cabin to the ground. The posse that finally brought him down consisted of twenty five men, heavily armed with rifles, dynamite and even a 3-pounder field gun. After a day and a half of fighting, thirty-eight cannonballs flung at the fort, and over 2,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, the deputies managed to blow open the gate with dynamite and finally bring Ned down.
Image Source: Phil Konstantin/Wikimedia Commons