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Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter


Tom Horn awaits execution for the murder of fourteen-year-old boy.

He writes this memoir.

Tom Horn was born in Missouri, in 1860. His parents, who were deeply religious, regularly beat him – on one occasion leaving him laid up in the family barn, where he needed a week to recover.

Their attempts to beat him into submission soon ended when aged just fourteen years old, he left home and headed West.

With $11 in his pocket after selling his rifle, and nothing to stay for after his beloved dog had been shot, young farm boy Tom Horn travelled through Kansas and reached Santa Fe in 1874.

Horn went on to become many things.

He was to become a pivotal figure in the cattle business, making a name for himself amid growing hostility between cattle barons and settlers as a government scout and interpreter for Generals Wilcox, Crook and Miles in the Apache wars.

He was assistant to the infamous Al Sieber, Chief of Scouts, and was known as the ‘King of Cowboys’.

He was a Pinkerton, a cowboy, a range detective and a gunman with potentially lethal ability – yet he was well respected and known as a gentleman who was true to his word.

In this account of his life, he recounts the shocking events that led to his imprisonment for the murder a fourteen year old boy.

It was a crime for which he was hanged in 1904, and many think he was wrongly accused.

Life of Tom Horn is a compelling western and a story of guilt, innocence and justice amongst the Apache Wars.

Tom Horn (1860-1903) was a US Army Scout, Pinkerton, cowboy, detective and assassin. He wrote his memoirs whilst in jail for a murder. His innocence is still debated.

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