6 Real-Life Gunslingers Who Put Billy the Kid to Shame

#3. George Patton (Yes, the George Patton) Has a Shootout with Pancho Villa's Men

Signal Corps/Wikimedia

George Patton would go on to beat enough Nazi ass to earn the nickname "Old Blood and Guts," but back in 1916, he was just a young second lieutenant chasing Pancho Villa all over northern Mexico along with the rest of the U.S. Army. However, the glint of prospective bloodshed was already twinkling in his eye when he took part in one of the last gunfights of the Old West.

Kim Marie Smith/Photos.com
Re-enactment by Jim "The Eyeball" Twinkles.

Patton and 10 enlisted men had been sent to San Miguelito Ranch to look for Villa, who had recently raided the city of Columbus, New Mexico. Patton positioned his men by the south gate and was making his way up to the north gate when a trio of Villa's men came thundering into the ranch on horseback like El Guapo's outriders in Three Amigos.

Patton's murder sense started tingling, and he drew his single-action Colt Peacemaker revolver (which was obsolete even by 1916 standards, but the future general evidently respected the weapon's bandito-slaying pedigree). With bullets whizzing by his face, Patton took aim and blasted two of the men's horses right out from under them. The first man had been fatally wounded in the exchange, but Patton patiently waited for the second man to get to his feet, presumably struggling against the gravitational pull of Patton's giant balls, and allowed the bandit to draw his pistol before killing him with a single shot.

From his pipe.

After his troops took down the remaining outlaw, Patton tied the three dead men to the hood of his touring car and drove the bodies back to his commanding officer, because as history would go on to demonstrate, Patton was a cold-blooded motherfucker.

#2. Bass Reeves Dispatches Three Cop Killers With the Utmost Courtesy


Bass Reeves was a slave in Texas before managing to escape to Oklahoma (or Indian Territory, as it was called back before that name became ironic), where he was appointed a U.S. deputy marshal for his expert skill as a tracker and marksman. During his career as the most respected marshal in Oklahoma, he participated in more gunfights than a Hong Kong action star and achieved an arrest record of about 3,000. Despite the fact that he personally planted 14 outlaws in the ground, Reeves himself never got so much as a scratch.

Other than self-inflicted ones, from rubbing his mustache.

One of Reeves' crowning moments of badassitude occurred when he rode out to serve a warrant on the Brunter brothers, a notorious trio that enjoyed killing lawmen and robbing stagecoaches, as well as the occasional round of Ding Dong Ditch and not rewinding their Blockbuster videotapes. However, to serve this extremely high-risk warrant, Reeves simply handed a copy to the Brunters and politely informed them that they were under arrest, and that it would be best for everyone involved if they just came along quietly. You may recognize this as a common practice in movies but something that real-life policemen rarely attempt, because real-life bad guys will shoot you directly in the face.

Rich Legg/Photos.com
"Oh. I ... uh ... meant the band. Yes, we're all going to see Warrant play a live show. Mount up!"

Which is exactly what the Brunter brothers tried to do to Bass Reeves. However, Reeves was faster, and he instantly shot two of them dead before snatching the third brother's revolver away and pistol-whipping the everloving Xanadu out of him. Reeves then took the beaten but still living Brunter brother to jail, as promised.

#1. Sheriff Elfego Baca Cannot Be Destroyed

Kamilla Mathisen/Photos.com

As he was deputy sheriff of Socorro County, New Mexico, in 1884, it seemed inevitable that Elfego Baca would start a feud with a local gang of Texas cowboys, because the cowboys loved to ride into town and shoot things up for fun, and part of your job description as sheriff is to discourage that sort of behavior. Baca didn't respond to intimidation, because he was apparently born without the portion of the brain that allows human beings to experience fear, and began the feud by arresting a cowboy named Charlie McCarthy for firing his pistols at the feet of several locals in an effort to get them to dance. (Daft Punk did not yet exist, so at the time this was the most surefire method.)

Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
"OK, enough. You don't have to be smartasses about it."

However, McCarthy worked for a big-shot rancher named Tom Slaughter, who dispatched a gang of cowboys to threaten Baca into releasing McCarthy. Baca responded by killing one cowboy and wounding another (see "born without fear," above). With one Texas cowboy dead, another wounded, and a third cooling his heels in the county drunk tank, Slaughter rallied 80 (that's 80, as in eight-zero) of his lackeys to ride into town and put Baca in his place. And by "put him in his place," we mean "murder the terror-soaked pants-dook out of him."

Cornering Baca in a tiny adobe shack, the veritable army of cowboys laid siege to the building overnight, firing somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 rounds through the shack's flimsy walls. They even tried to burn the place down and almost blasted it from the face of the Earth with a stick of dynamite, collapsing most of the roof on top of Baca. Essentially, it was the scene from Die Hard 2 when the bad guys trap Bruce Willis in a plane, riddle the fuselage with bullets, and toss in some grenades for good measure.

Peter Potrowl/Wikimedia
Baca, shown here with actual metal for skin, was widely considered by historians to be the first Terminator.

But Baca never took a single hit, and during the 33-hour ordeal actually managed to kill four of the cowboys and wound 10 others. Ever the iron-scrotumed lawman, Baca turned himself in after it was all over to face down possible murder charges, of which he was acquitted.

From that day forward, Baca rode the crest of his fame as an unkillable justice machine to become one of the most feared lawmen of his time. His reputation became so great that he was eventually able to serve warrants just by sending the following letter, politely requesting that his quarry turn themselves in:

"I have a warrant here for your arrest. Please ... give yourself up. If you don't, I'll know you intend to resist arrest, and I will feel justified in shooting you on sight when I come after you. Very truly yours, Elfego Baca, sheriff."

How can you put these badasses to shame? Pick up a Roosevelt T-shirt and show us your random acts of superheroism.

Related Reading: These gunfights were pretty badass- but in the REAL wild west, shoot outs weren't at all common. We've got more wild west myths than that, just click here. You'll learn that the whole "settlers constantly fighting with Indians" trope is way overblown. Want to see Cracked's best attempt at a realistic western? Have at it.

And if you're in a rush and just need a quick fix of Cracked, check out 4 Recent Headlines That Sound Like Bad SyFy Movies.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!