Waytt_Earp_Case - CASE: Wyatt Earp - The Buffalo Hunter F....

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CASE: Wyatt Earp - The Buffalo Hunter F. Robert Jacobs, Indiana University The legend of Wyatt Earp lives on largely based on his exploits as a gunfighter and Marshall of the frontier West in the 1880s. The classic tales of the shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone or his sawed-off shotgun duel with Curly Bill are possibly the most celebrated gunfights of frontier history and cannot fail to stir the reader's imagination. Wyatt lived to be over 80 years old, long enough to recount his story to Stuart Lake for the book Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshall 1 (published by Pocket Books). Apparently, Wyatt was quite a financial success long before he became a marshal. He learned how to hunt and shoot buffalo when only 15 years old. By the time he was 20, the Kansas City and Caldwell buffalo hunters knew him as one of the best in the west. His methods for hunting buffalo were very different from the established practices of the time. Outside the marshal's office in Caldwell, veteran hunters would meet to compare the season's hunt. Success was measured solely by animals killed and cash received for the hides and meat. Wyatt realized that what was important was the gain after expenditures for horses, wagons, supplies, and skinners' wages were considered. Any hunter could boast of the money in his pockets at the end of a season, but few could say accurately how much was gain. The Ways of the Veteran Hunters The buffalo hunter of 1871 set out for the range with five four-horse wagons, with one driver, the stock tender, camp watchman, and cook; and four others to skin the kill. The hunter provided horses, wagons, and supplies for several months. Money received for hides and meat would be divided into two equal parts; one went to the hunter, and from his share, he paid all expenses. The second was again split into as many shares as there were drivers, skinners and helpers with each getting a share as his seasonal wage. It was believed that no really top-notch buffalo hunter would stoop to skinning the animals he shot. Each person in the party had a specific assigned job, and none would do something below their level of dignity. The weapon of choice at the time was the Sharps "Fifty" rifle. These rifles, which all right-minded buffalo hunters carried, weighed more than twenty pounds. The gun shot a slug of lead two inches in length, a half-inch in diameter, weighing approximately an eighth of a pound. The Sharps was the best weapon obtainable for long-range shooting, but notable among its drawbacks were the cost of ammunition and the fact that the rifle's accuracy was seriously affected by continued rapid fire. To prevent damaging the rifle, the wise user, ran a water-soaked rag through the barrel after every second or third shot and let the metal cool. Wyatt recounted that "early white hunters had followed the Indian practice of shooting buffalo from
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2010 for the course MBA MGT 560 taught by Professor Yates during the Spring '10 term at RMU.

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Waytt_Earp_Case - CASE: Wyatt Earp - The Buffalo Hunter F....

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