Monday, April 3, 2017

New Mexico 1884 Shootout! One Lawman Against 80 Cowboys!

Reserve, New Mexico

The Wild West was fraught with little known battles many have never heard of. One such gunfight went on for hours and took place in a small town called Reserve, New Mexico in 1884. 

A description of the battle is below where the lone gun man, Elfego Baca, is considered a regional hero, even today.

"I will show the Texans there is at least one Mexican in the county who is not afraid of an American Cowboy" - 1884

The Frisco shootout was an Old West gunfight that began on December 1, 1884, involving lawman Elfego Baca. The shootout happened in Reserve, New Mexico, and stemmed from Baca's arrest of a cowboy who had been shooting into the air and into buildings at random while intoxicated.

Shortly after the arrest was made, Baca was confronted by a large number of the cowboy's friends. Baca took refuge in the house of local resident Geronimo Armijo. An intense shootout ensued, during which the cowboys increased in number to around eighty men. Legend has it that the cowboys fired more than 4,000 rounds into the house, but there is little way of confirming just how many rounds were fired exactly. Baca was not wounded by any of the rounds fired, but did return fire killing four of the cowboys, and wounding eight others. The standoff ended when the cowboys were unable to acquire more ammunition. With their ammunition supply depleted, they simply withdrew. The fight had lasted thirty-six hours.

The cowboy that had been originally arrested by Baca served his time in jail for disturbing the peace and drunkenness, and was released. The cowboys pursued Baca through legal means, attempting to have him imprisoned for the killing of their four comrades. In May 1885, Baca was indicted for the killing of one of the men. However, when the door of Geronimo Armijo's house was introduced as evidence, having over four hundred bullet holes in it, Baca was acquitted. He went on to become a licensed attorney and a Deputy US Marshal.

Footnote: This singular battle has long served as a symbol for the power of the lone individual, standing up against overwhelming odds for what he or she happens to believe is right. 

Chasing the Dead, a western romance novel set in New Mexico in 1884, can be found in the anthology Come Love A Cowboy, II.

Also includes two novellas
Comes An Outlaw
Catherine's Cowboy

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