No. 583
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
November 30, 2022

Cowboys Lassoing the Ballet.

The manager of a dizzy blonde troupe is lassoed by an indignant cowboy at Dodge City, Kansas.
January 18, 2016
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Fifteen-year-old Jody Randall of Long Beach, California, was in most ways a typical suburban teenager.  The one thing that set her apart was a passion for antiques which was unusual for someone of her youth.  As a result of spending all her available free time (and her parents’ money) on her hobby, she eventually amassed some impressive pieces, including a doll collection noteworthy enough to
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Strange Company - 11/28/2022
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Shell and Pea Game on the Trail"Sketched from life by M. W. Newberry"San Francisco ChronicleApril 10, 1898(Click image to enlarge)    UNKO MEN AND THEIR TRICKS      A wonderfully detailed description of the modus operandi of Soapy Smith's three shell and pea manipulators along the Chilkoot and White Pass trails. Witnessed and reported by Joseph D. Barry, and published in the San Francisco
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 11/21/2022
Working as a domestic servant in 19th century New York City had plenty of challenges. Sure, servants received room and board in addition to their wages, and they usually had at least Sunday afternoon off. But living in another family’s home was isolating and lonely—particularly if you didn’t speak English or weren’t accustomed to urban […]
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Ephemeral New York - 11/28/2022
On this date in 2002, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kansi, Kasi, or Qazi was executed by lethal injection in Virginia, U.S.A. “Real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people,”* Qazi on January 25, 1993 revenged himself on Central Intelligence Agency commuters queued for a left turn […]
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Executed Today - 11/14/2022
Museum of the City of New YorkWilliam Howe and Abraham Hummel were the most successful criminal lawyers in Gilded Age New York. With a combination of skill, showmanship, and unethical practices, they defended most of the city’s significant criminals and many of its murderers. Whether they won or lost, Howe and Hummel made every trial sensational. Here are a few of the many accused murderers
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Murder By Gaslight - 11/26/2022
Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 11/22/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
After the Boys. | Disguised as the Devil.

Cowboys Lassoing the Ballet.

Had him on a string

He Had Him on a String.
The manager of a dizzy blonde troupe is lassoed by an indignant cowboy at Dodge City, Kansas. 

One of the variety theatres at Dodge City had for an attraction a company composed of gaudy-stockinged blondes. The performance was awful in its wretchedness, and in no time the boys got uneasy and the whiskey in them began to call for fun. Joe Hooke rose gravely, called the performance to a halt and asked for the manager. The impressive gentleman came into sight on the stage and asked what he wanted. Joe told him that a show, to be a success, should be plentifully sprinkled with local talent. The manager haughtily declined Joe’s offer “to speak a piece.” But his indignation was soon cut short by the whizzing of a lariat and stern reminder that any kicking would speedily be followed by strangulation. Joe mounted the stage and ordered the orchestra to play somethin’ right sneaky like, and began a long piece to the effect that:

In de days of old
We ‘uns all had gold
      In fac’ till quite recen’ly
When we ‘uns held a wake
On New York Jake,
      But cudnt bury’im decen’ly

After that the performance proceeded until one of the boys, taking it into his head that the big fiddle was a nuisance, threw a lasso over the neck of it, and started for the door. The instrument was a complete wreck in a minute. The boys then began to lasso the girls on the stage, who were engaged in an American march, and in less time than it takes to tell it there was not a light burning in the house.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 24, 1887.