Tough Hombres. Nice Hair.
5 Legendary Longhairs of The Old West
The legend of Old Glass has been around for some time now, but those of you familiar with the film, ‘The Revenant’ get the gist.
While it may be difficult to verify many claims about Glass and the life he led, one constant is the story of his brush with an angry grizzly bear in the early 1820s and the abandonment of his trapping party, particularly at the behest of two men named Bridges and Fitzgerald. This decision left him without supplies or protection on the harsh frontier.
Glass crawled over 200 miles (320 km) to reach Fort Kiowa in modern-day South Dakota. In order to make this arduous journey, he set his own broken leg, and had a bear skin sewn over his wounds to cover his exposed ribs.
After a brutal journey, crawling with gaping wounds and a busted leg for six weeks, Glass forgave Bridges (whom many claim to be the famous Jim Bridger) on account of his youth.
He also begrudgingly forgave Fitzgerald who, by the time Glass found him, had joined the Army. Not wanting to get into legal trouble with the military, he warned Fitzgerald to never get discharged or he would kill him.
Fitzgerald, if he considered himself wise, would have become a career Army soldier right then and there.
John “Liver-Eating” Johnson
The name alone strikes intrigue and fear into the hearts of many, but none so much perhaps as the members of the Crow tribe.
After Johnson’s wife was allegedly murdered by a group of Crow hunters, he set out on a blood-thirsty vendetta that would make John Wick quiver. Johnson is said to have killed, scalped, and ate the livers of over 300 Crow to avenge the death of his wife.
The eating of the livers was of particular significance to Johnson, as the Crow believed the liver to be extremely important to one’s journey in the afterlife.
As the number of casualties grew, so did the fear surrounding Johnson, making him one of the scariest longhairs of the old west. Thankfully, Johnson eventually made peace with the Crow, whom he later referred to as “his brothers.” The fear of his resolve, however, remains.
A man of his convictions, Sitting Bull possesses many character attributes we would not be remiss in attaining. He was a legendary Lakota warrior, and had been from a relatively young age. After a raid on an enemy tribe, he was given an eagle feather (a sign of becoming a brave), a warrior’s horse, and a shield.
This was to become a central theme in his life, becoming a hero in Red Cloud’s War and The Great Sioux War of 1876 (which included The Battle of Little Bighorn). Needless to say, Sitting Bull was one that was not afraid to fight for what he believed in.
Despite the rapid expansion of the American West, Sitting Bull and others continued to resist until a fateful day in 1890. Sitting Bull was surrounded by soldiers and placed under arrest on bogus charges. His refusal to go quietly resulted in a skirmish that left 16 dead, including Sitting Bull.
Geronimo is one of the reasons why the Apache tribes are both feared and respected.
There are many called, but few chosen to lead. Geronimo clearly was chosen. While not a chief, he commanded large groups of warriors with his innate raiding skills and war tactics.
Following the tragedy of his wife and daughter being murdered by Mexican troops he, like “Liver-Eating Johnson,” set out on a bloody crusade filled with such brutality and carnage, it would send shivers down your spine.
His attitude was not unlike many of the American Indians that came before him. He resented the idea of people taking his land and confining him to a reservation. As such, he staged several breakouts from places that tried to contain him.
Geronimo died as a prisoner of war, but has since been remembered as a hero and brave warrior, both to those that fought with him, as well as against him.
“I never killed a man that didn’t need killing.”
...yeah. John Wayne stole that quote from this guy.
Last but certainly not least, we have Porter Rockwell AKA The Destroying Angel of Mormondom—a nickname not to be taken lightly! Over the course of his career as a lawman, bounty hunter, and bodyguard, Rockwell took down more outlaws than Wyatt Earp, Doc “I’m your huckleberry” Holladay, Tom Horn, and Bat Masterson combined. That’s a hefty amount of corpses.
A sharpshooter and gunslinger through and through, Rockwell lived by the saying, “shoot first, that way the other guy knows you’re armed.” A controversial figure in both Mormonism and law enforcement, Porter was accused of murder three separate times, acquitted twice, and died before the third could be brought to book, making him the deadliest longhair of the old west!
Having been told by way of prophecy that, “if he never cut his hair, no bullet would ever strike him,” Rockwell sported shoulder-length hair and an equally long beard. To see this man show up at your hideout was essentially a death warrant. May as well crap your pants now and get it over with, fellers.
What’s striking is there are many instances told by eyewitnesses that prominent sharpshooters emptied their rifles at him without so much as causing his hair to billow. Prophecy fulfilled? You decide.
One more interesting thing to note about Mr. Rockwell is he actually cut his hair once to donate it to someone who lost their hair to typhoid fever. He was a hair donor before there was such a thing!
Are You As Tough As These Longhairs of The Old West?
This is just a short list of some of the most rootinest, tootenist, lettin’ it ridinist longhairs of the old west! Imagine how tough it was to keep the flow gorgeous before the days of Epic Cleanse & Ideal Conditions.
These men did remarkable things each in their own right, and each with a glorious set of locks.