Rustler War

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RUSTLER WAR, a conflict centering in Johnson County, Wyoming. Local ranchers claimed it was impossible to secure convictions in the local courts for cattle rustling because jurors and county officials were either intimidated by or sympathized with the rustlers. Therefore, the cattlemen resolved to take matters into their own hands. In April 1892, they organized an expedition to kill some seventy supposed cattle thieves. The cattlemen soon met resistance and took refuge in the buildings of the T A Ranch, where a force of some two hundred men besieged them. President Benjamin Harrison sent in U.S. troops, and the desperate cattlemen gladly surrendered. They faced trial but were acquitted.


Smith, Duane A. Rocky Mountain West: Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, 1859–1915. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1992.

Smith, Helena Huntington. The War on Powder River. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966.

Edward EverettDale/a. e.

See alsoCattle Rustlers ; Homesteaders and the Cattle Industry .