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Vol. 3 - No.12 December, 2021 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Chronicle of the Old West
Dakota Livesay | Old West Historian
This week's story is about the first killing by one of the Old West's most famous gunmen. And the conclusion of our story may surprise you.

Continued.... (see below)
Doc Kills Gordon
Doc Holliday came out west so the warm dry weather could help with his tuberculosis. But, he enjoyed gambling and drinking, and what better place to do it than at night in a smoke filled saloon. So, Holliday bought a share in a saloon in Las Vegas, New Mexico. His partner was John Joshua Webb.

Doc enjoyed women, and he probably made sure that some of the more attractive women in the area worked in his saloon. Mike Gordon, a regular at the saloon, became infatuated with one of the women.

On the evening of July 19, 1879, Holiday and Webb were playing cards, and Mike Gordon was at the bar talking to his “girlfriend.” Gordon suggested that she quit her job, and marry him. Evidently her attention toward Gordon was purely professional, because she refused his proposal… and quite possibly, not in a very diplomatic way. It so angered Gordon that he went outside and started firing shots into the saloon. Doc calmly walked outside and dropped Gordon with one shot.

The interesting thing is that although Doc Holliday is known as a beady-eyed, cold-blooded killer, the killing of Mike Gordon was one of only two recorded accounts of his killing someone… the other being Tom McLaury during the O. K. Corral shootout.

It isn’t that Doc tried to avoid gunplay… quite the contrary. Because of his small size, he didn’t want a fistfight, and he sure preferred dying in a gunfight to the slow lingering death the result of tuberculosis. It very well could have been his lack of fear that resulted in men backing down when in a confrontation with Doc.
Doc Holliday
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Chronicle of the Old West
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