In 1919, when 17-year-old Austrian-born Joseph Omeyc shot Game Warden John Buxton with a revolver near Rock Springs after the officer confiscated his rifle, the crime appeared related to poaching. But Wyoming at the time required non-citizens to license guns, Omeyc didn’t have a gun license—and anti-immigrant feeling was running high.
Outlaws & Crime
Browse Articles about Outlaws & Crime
|Averell, Jim, newspaper reporting of the lynching of||Tom Rea|
|Big Nose George||Lori Van Pelt|
|Buxton, John, Wyoming deputy game warden, killed in 1919||Dick Blust, Jr.|
|Cantrell, Ed||Paul Krza|
|Carlisle, Bill||Lori Van Pelt|
|Cassidy, Butch in Wyoming||Mac Blewer|
|Cattle Kate, newspaper reporting of the lynching of||Tom Rea|
|Cokeville Elementary School Bombing||Jessica Clark|
|Cokeville survivor oral history, Carol Petersen||Wyoming State Archives|
Outlaws & Crime
Rock Springs was bursting in 1977 when “60 Minutes” came to town to cover sleaze and alleged corruption. Soon after, top cop Ed Cantrell shot his undercover agent, Mike Rosa, in a police cruiser in front of the Silver Dollar Bar. The crime, the trial and its drama fixed boomtime Wyoming in the national imagination as a new kind of wild West.
Thirteen hours before killer “Tricky” Riggle’s death sentence was to be carried out, Gov. Milward Simpson commuted his punishment to life in prison. Simpson family members later maintained that this cost the governor his second term, but other controversial stands—on gambling and the route of the new I-90—probably hurt him more.
Guided by a pair of Kentuckians, four blindfolded investors rode south from Rawlins toward the Colorado border in June 1872. Their objective, they thought, was a vast, secret field of diamonds, but they lost nearly all the money they’d put in and the swindlers got away—for a time.
Just before sunset, on Oct. 31, 1903, a sheriff’s posse and a band of Oglala Sioux families from the Pine Ridge Reservation engaged in a brief, sharp gunfight near Lightning Creek, northeast of Douglas, Wyo. Seven people died, and a U.S. Senate investigation followed.
Patriotic feelings soared in Wyoming during the years of the Great War, bringing generosity toward the people of war-torn Europe and the soldiers who fought. Pacifists, however, and people of German heritage often suffered the scorn of fervent fellow citizens.
From Union Army soldier to teamster to Guernsey, Wyo., town father, John “Posey” Ryan earned a reputation as an honorable man. But his life’s path took a wrong turn when, believing they had stolen his livelihood, he publicly shot his wife and her daughter to death.
In May 1950, Louise Spinner Graf served as foreman of a jury in Green River, Wyo.—practically the first Wyoming jury to include women since 1871. The jury convicted Otto Long of second-degree murder. Afterward, Long’s attorney blamed the outcome on “those damn women.” Women have served successfully on Wyoming juries ever since.