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Elfego Baca and the Frisco Shootout

In the 1880’s Elfego Baca was a deputy sheriff in Soccoro County, New Mexico and was determined to clean up the town of Reserve.  In 1884 a drunk cowboy named Charlie McCarty ambled down the streets of Reserve, shooting up the town, yelling, hooting, and causing a ruckus.  Baca arrested the drunk cowboy, much to the ire of his fellow cowboys.  The cowboys tried to jump Baca, but he deftly fended off the attack, wounding one cowboy in the knee and shooting the horse of another, the horse falling on the cowboy and killing him.

William McCarty was taken into custody and later held for trial.  A very large gang of cowboys attended the trial, all eyeing up Baca with obvious evil intent.  McCarty was fined $5 and released.  Immediately Baca hightailed it out of the courtroom, taking refuge in the house Geronimo Armijo.  Around 40 heavily armed cowboys surrounded the house and opened fire.  Over the next six hours the cowboys fired over 4,000 rounds, eventually disbursing when they ran out of ammunition.  Baca, however, remained unscathed as the house he was taking shelter in had a floor that was lower than ground level, allowing him to take cover.  During the shootout, Baca killed four cowboys and wounded eight others.

After the gunfight, the cowboys turned to the law the get back at Baca, claiming that he had murdered their four fellow comrades in cold blood.  However the townspeople produced the door of Armijo’s house, riddled with 400 bullet holes, proving Baca’s innocence.  Baca would later become sheriff, deputy marshal, and an attorney.  He died in 1945 at the age of 80.