Death Scenes of Desperadoes

There is always a grim sort of curiosity regarding the way in which notoriously desperate men meet their end; and perhaps this is as natural as is the curiosity regarding the manner in which they lived.

“Did he die game?” is one of the questions asked by bad men among themselves. “Did he die with his boots on?” is another. The last was the test of actual or, as it were, of professional badness. One who admitted himself bad was willing to die with his boots on. Honest men were not, and more than one early Western man fatally shot had his friends take off his boots before he died, so that he might not go with the stain of desperadoism attached to his name.

Some bad men died unrepentant and defiant. Others broke down and wept and begged. A great oblivion enshrouds most of these utterances, for few Vigilante movements ever reached importance enough to permit those who participated to make publicly known their own participation in them. Indeed, no man ever concerned in a law and order execution ever liked to talk about it.

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7 Responses to Death Scenes of Desperadoes

  1. STW says:

    Circumstantial evidence suggests that my wife’s great grandfather was part of the vigilance committee that hanged the Plummer gang. She’s understandably proud of that. (We call our bbq team The Pigilance Committee) 3-7-77

  2. Kenny the Scot says:

    Well, we’ll all face that situation sooner or later. I just visited the gravesite of my good friend H, who passed away exactly nine years ago. He was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and went through all the chemo, had stents put in his gullet, etc. He had a difficult time of it, but although it sounds strange, he didn’t let it ruin his life. H was a remarkable man – one of a kind. We were both recovering alcoholics and he kept me on the straight and narrow. I wasn’t the only one either – H helped a lot of people out. I did everything I could to help H when he was going through his illness, me and another friend of ours, C. Sadly, not long after H passed, C phoned me and said that he had been diagnosed with exactly the same illness. So I lost my two friends in a couple of years, one after another.

    Now I’ve just had a bad diagnosis myself – an “incidental finding” they tell me – and I’m heading off for a CT scan on Wednesday. Whatever happens now, I’ll think of my friends and how they conducted themselves. H may have passed away from this earth but even now, he is keeping me on the straight and narrow. I am very fortunate to have met the man, and to have become his friend.

    • Wirecutter says:

      Best of luck to you.

    • Elmo says:

      A great tribute to your Friends… and yourself.

      • Kenny the Scot says:

        Thanks boys, I didn’t mean for that to come out just now. It just kind of happened. Aye, I got a phone call out of the blue from my GP the other day. They found a problem during an ultrasound scan for something else entirely. So: A CT Scan at ARI (Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, the same hospital where I was born, way back in 1965) on Wednesday. See the consultant. “Radical” surgery to follow shortly thereafter, it would appear. That’s my best case scenario. I’m in the hands of the good old NHS now.

        • Elmo says:

          I’ll send a prayer and be thinking of you next Wednesday.
          Thanks for mentioning the NHS. I was wondering about that. I wasn’t sure that was Scotland, too.

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