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The Deadliest Outlaws: the Ketchum Gang and the Wild Bunch

Description: After Tom Ketchum had been sentenced to death for attempting to hold up a railway train, his attorneys argued that the penalty was “cruel and unusual” for the offense charged. The appeal failed and he became the first individual—and the last—ever to be executed for a crime of this sort. He was hanged in 1901; in a macabre ending to his life of crime, his head was torn away by the rope as he fell from the gallows. Tom Ketchum was born in 1863 on a farm near the fringe of the Texas frontier. At the age of nine, he found himself an orphan and was raised by his older brothers. In his mid-twenties he left home for the life of an itinerant trail driver and ranch hand. He returned to Texas, murdered a man, and fled. Soon afterwards, he and his brother Sam killed two men in New Mexico. A year later, he and two other former cowboys robbed a train in Texas. The career of the Ketchum Gang was under way. In their day, these men were the most daring of their kind, and the most feared. They were accused of crimes that were not theirs, but their proven record is long and lurid. Their downfall was brought about by what one editor called “the magic of the telephone and telegraph,” by quarrels between themselves, and by their reckless defiance of ever-mounting odds. Jeffrey Burton has been researching the story of the Ketchum Gang and related outlaws for more than forty years. He has mined unpublished sources, family records, personal reminiscences, trial transcripts and other court papers, official correspondence and reports, census returns, and contemporary newspapers to sort fact from fiction and provide the definitive truth about Ketchum and numerous other outlaws, including Will Carver, Ben Kilpatrick, and ...
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: August 15, 2009
Creator: Burton, Jeffrey
Partner: UNT Press

[News Clip: Mules]

Description: Video footage from the KXAS-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, to accompany a news story.
Date: April 15, 1980, 6:00 p.m.
Creator: KXAS-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Clip: Gambling]

Description: Video footage from the KXAS-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, covering a news story by reporter Marty Griffin about arrests for illegal gambling activity in North Dallas. This footage includes an interview with an unidentified male investigator and Black Jack's labeled "Mr. Lucky's." This story aired at 10:00 P.M.
Date: July 5, 1989
Creator: KXAS-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Script: Champion auctioned]

Description: Script from the WBAP-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, covering a news story about Black Jack, the grand champion Angus steer of Fort Worth's Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show, going up for auction.
Date: February 3, 1961
Creator: WBAP-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Clip: Mules]

Description: Video footage from the KXAS-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, to accompany a news story.
Date: April 15, 1980, 10:00 p.m.
Creator: KXAS-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Script: Rodeo]

Description: Script from the WBAP-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, covering a news story about the events that took place at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo's Grand Opening, 1960.
Date: April 30, 1960
Creator: WBAP-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Script: Stock show]

Description: Script from the WBAP-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, covering a news story about the 1961 Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth.
Date: February 1, 1961
Creator: WBAP-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections