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A Good Boy Gone Bad: Bill Doolin

At the time of his death, dueling Bill Doolin was one of the hardest men the Old West ever saw, but he didn't start out that way.

A Good Boy Gone Bad: Bill Doolin

Quick with his guns, outlaw Bill Doolin headed up the most powerful outlaw gang in the Old West from 1892 to 1896. He drank hard, he rode hard, and he went down hard at the hands of lawman Heck Thomas. (Shooting Times photo)

Born in August 1858 in Johnson County, Arkansas, to parents Michael and Artemia Doolin, who were farmers, William Doolin was a good boy by all accounts. That is until he took up with questionable characters with names like George “Bitter Creek” Newcomb (a.k.a. “the Slaughter Kid”), Bill “Tulsa” Jack, Dan “Dynamite Dick” Clifton, and others. Doolin eventually went on to found the infamous Wild Bunch band of bandits (a.k.a. Doolin-Dalton Gang or Oklahombres or Oklahoma Long Riders).

Doolin left home in 1881, and his first run-in with the law was in Coffeyville, Kansas, in 1891. By then he had been cowboying in Indian Territory, and...

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