Top 10 Outlaws of the Old West

Top 10 Outlaws of Old West

Today, our Top 10 list is Outlaws of the Old West. Here are some basic facts about these outlaws:

  1. Jesse James was a notorious American outlaw in the 19th century, known for his involvement in bank and train robberies, and his outlaw gang, the James-Younger Gang.
  2. Billy the Kid, whose real name was Henry McCarty, was a legendary Old West outlaw and gunfighter, best known for his involvement in the Lincoln County War and his reputation as a young and deadly gunslinger.
  3. Butch Cassidy, also known as Robert LeRoy Parker, was a famous American outlaw and the leader of the Wild Bunch gang, responsible for a string of bank and train robberies during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  4. John Wesley Hardin was a notorious Texas outlaw and gunfighter, regarded as one of the deadliest gunmen in the American West, responsible for numerous killings during the 19th century.
  5. Wild Bill Hickok, whose real name was James Butler Hickok, was a legendary frontiersman, lawman, and gambler known for his remarkable gunfighting skills and his role in the American Old West.
  6. Tom Horn was a scout, lawman, and hired killer in the late 19th century, known for his controversial role in the prosecution of suspected cattle rustlers and his eventual execution.
  7. Calamity Jane, whose real name was Martha Jane Cannary, was a frontierswoman of the American West known for her adventurous and rough lifestyle, often associating with notable figures like Wild Bill Hickok.
  8. Belle Starr, also known as “The Bandit Queen,” was a famous female outlaw in the late 19th century, involved in horse theft and other criminal activities, often associated with the James-Younger Gang.
  9. Wyatt Earp was a legendary lawman in the American West, known for his role in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and his pursuit of justice as a sheriff and marshal.
  10. Doc Holliday, whose real name was John Henry Holliday, was a gambler, gunfighter, and close associate of Wyatt Earp, known for his participation in the events surrounding the O.K. Corral gunfight and his reputation as a deadly gunslinger.

Now let’s start the countdown, learning a few more facts about each of these outlaws of the old west.

10. Doc Holliday

Doc Holliday

Meet John Henry “Doc” Holliday, the gunslinging dentist with a heart of gold and a quick trigger finger. This Southern gentleman turned gambler and gunslinger left an indelible mark on the Wild West.

10 Interesting Facts about Doc Holliday:

  1. Holliday was born in Georgia in 1851 and was raised in a wealthy family.
  2. He was a trained dentist, but due to his battle with tuberculosis, he couldn’t practice regularly.
  3. Holliday was known to be a skilled gambler and gunslinger, but also had a kind heart, often helping those in need.
  4. He became friends with Wyatt Earp and was present at the famous gunfight at the OK Corral.
  5. Holliday was arrested numerous times, but was never convicted of a major crime.
  6. He spent the last years of his life in Colorado, where he died of tuberculosis at the young age of 36.
  7. Despite his short life, Holliday’s legendary status grew after his death, becoming a popular figure in books, films, and TV shows.
  8. He was known for his wit and quick thinking, often using his words to diffuse tense situations.
  9. Holliday was also an expert marksman and was never known to back down from a challenge.
  10. He remains a larger-than-life figure, symbolizing the spirit of the Wild West.


Doc Holliday may have only lived a short life, but his legacy continues to live on. From his quick wit to his sharpshooting skills, Doc’s spirit embodies the wild and untamed nature of the American West. His story is one of a life lived on the edge, full of excitement, danger, and a little bit of heart.

9. Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp

Introducing the legendary frontier lawman, Wyatt Earp! Born in Monmouth, Illinois on March 19, 1848, Earp lived a life that was anything but ordinary. From serving as a buffalo hunter to serving as a deputy marshal, Earp was a man of action who never shied away from a fight.

Facts About Wyatt Earp:

  1. Earp began his career as a buffalo hunter in Kansas.
  2. He served as a deputy marshal in Wichita, Kansas and Dodge City, Kansas.
  3. Earp became famous for his role in the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.
  4. He was known for his quick draw and fearlessness in dangerous situations.
  5. Earp served as a police officer in various cities, including Tombstone, Alaska, and San Francisco.
  6. He was a friend and associate of famous lawmen and gunslingers such as Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson.
  7. Earp was also involved in several controversial incidents, including the killing of his brother’s murderer.
  8. He was married three times and had children from his first marriage.
  9. Earp was involved in several business ventures, including gold mining and running saloons.
  10. He died at the age of 80 on January 13, 1929 in Los Angeles, California.


In conclusion, Wyatt Earp was a man of many hats – buffalo hunter, lawman, and businessman, to name a few. He lived a life filled with adventure, danger, and controversy, and his legacy continues to fascinate people to this day. Whether you see him as a hero or a villain, one thing is for certain – Wyatt Earp was a true American icon, and his name will forever be remembered in the annals of history.

8. Belle Starr

Belle Starr

Belle Starr, also known as the “Bandit Queen” and the “Female Jesse James,” was a notorious outlaw and gunslinger of the American Old West. Born in 1848 in Missouri, she lived a life filled with adventure and notoriety, becoming one of the most well-known figures of the Wild West.

10 Interesting Facts about Belle Starr:

  1. Belle Starr was born Myra Maybelle Shirley, but adopted her stage name later in life.
  2. Her father was a wealthy Confederate sympathizer and her mother was part Native American.
  3. She married her first husband, Jim Reed, when she was 16 years old.
  4. Belle was known for her association with several well-known outlaws, including Jesse James and Cole Younger.
  5. She was known for her love of fine clothing and her fashion sense, which made her stand out in the rough-and-tumble world of the Old West.
  6. Belle owned a ranch in Oklahoma and raised horses, which were highly valued at the time.
  7. She was arrested several times for horse theft, but was never convicted.
  8. Belle was known for her shooting skills and was often called upon to settle disputes between cowboys.
  9. She had a second marriage to Sam Starr, who was also an outlaw.
  10. Belle was shot and killed in 1889 in what many believe was a revenge killing by one of her former lovers.


Belle Starr was a true product of the Wild West, living a life filled with excitement and danger. She was a trailblazer for women in a male-dominated world and her story continues to captivate people to this day. Although her actions were often criminal, she was also known for her strong sense of justice and her willingness to help others in need. The legend of Belle Starr will forever be a part of American history, remembered as one of the most infamous figures of the Wild West.

7. Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane, a name synonymous with the American Wild West, was a legendary figure in her own right. Born as Martha Jane Canary in Princeton, Missouri in 1852, she lived a life of adventure, mystery, and mystery that left an indelible mark on American history. With her rough exterior, charming personality, and fearless spirit, Calamity Jane captured the imagination of a nation, making her one of the most recognizable figures of the American frontier.

10 Interesting Facts about Calamity Jane:

  1. Calamity Jane’s real name was Martha Jane Canary, but she went by several other names throughout her life, including “Calam,” “Jane” and “Jennie.”
  2. She grew up in a family of hunters and scouts and became an expert marksman at a young age.
  3. Calamity Jane traveled the West with the Army, working as a scout and spy during the Indian Wars.
  4. She was a close friend of Wild Bill Hickok and was with him when he was killed in Deadwood, South Dakota.
  5. Calamity Jane was known for her adventurous spirit and her willingness to live life on her own terms.
  6. She was a skilled horsewoman and often rode sidesaddle, a rare feat for women in the 19th century.
  7. Calamity Jane was a regular performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and was known for her daring stunts.
  8. Despite her rough exterior, Calamity Jane had a soft side and was known for her kindness to others, especially children.
  9. She was often seen wearing men’s clothing and carrying a revolver, earning her a reputation as a tough and independent woman.
  10. Calamity Jane died in 1903 of pneumonia and was buried next to Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, South Dakota.


Calamity Jane’s life was one of adventure, danger, and excitement, but it was also marked by tragedy, heartbreak, and scandal. Despite this, she remains one of the most iconic figures of the American West, inspiring generations with her bravery and her spirit of independence. Her legacy continues to live on, and her name continues to be synonymous with the spirit of the American frontier. Whether you view her as a hero or a villain, one thing is for sure – Calamity Jane was a woman who lived life on her own terms, and her story is one that will never be forgotten.

6. Tom Horn

Tom Horn

Tom Horn – A Controversial Figure of the American West

Tom Horn was a man of mystery, a man of many hats, and a man of controversy. Born in 1860 in Missouri, Tom Horn lived a life that was full of adventure, excitement, and danger. His story is one that’s worth telling and one that captures the essence of the American West.

10 Interesting Facts about Tom Horn:

  1. Horn was a cattle detective for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association
  2. He was a scout for the U.S. Army during the Apache Wars
  3. He served as a Pinkerton detective
  4. He claimed to have killed over a hundred men
  5. Horn was known for his sharpshooting skills
  6. He was arrested for the murder of Willie Nickell, a 14-year-old boy
  7. Horn’s trial was controversial and full of inconsistencies
  8. He was sentenced to death by hanging
  9. Many believed Horn was wrongly convicted and that he was the victim of a conspiracy
  10. Horn was executed on November 20, 1903, in Cheyenne, Wyoming


In conclusion, Tom Horn was a man who lived a life that was full of adventure and danger. He was a figure of controversy and a man who was loved and hated by many. Whether he was a killer or a man wrongly accused, Tom Horn will always be remembered as a symbol of the American West, a place where legends are made and where men like Tom Horn lived and died.

5. Wild Bill Hickok

Wild Bill Hickok

Wild Bill Hickok, a legendary gunslinger of the Wild West, captured the hearts and minds of America in the late 1800s. With his sharp shooting skills and fearless spirit, he became one of the most notorious figures of his time.

Interesting Facts about Wild Bill:

  1. Born in Illinois in 1837, Hickok grew up on the frontier and learned to handle firearms at an early age.
  2. He fought in the Civil War as a Union scout and spy.
  3. Hickok worked as a stagecoach driver, a lawman, and a gambler, always with a reputation for being quick on the draw.
  4. He gained notoriety for his “quick draw” shooting style and was said to have never lost a gunfight.
  5. Wild Bill became a folk hero and a symbol of frontier justice.
  6. He was a professional gambler and was known to play cards with aces and eights, which became known as the “Dead Man’s Hand.”
  7. Hickok was marshal in several frontier towns, including Abilene, Kansas and Deadwood, South Dakota.
  8. He had a volatile temper and was involved in several shootouts, including the famous incident in Deadwood where he was shot in the back while holding his winning hand of aces and eights.
  9. He was also a close friend of Calamity Jane.
  10. Wild Bill was buried in Deadwood, South Dakota, where a monument marks his gravesite.


Wild Bill Hickok lived a life filled with adventure, danger, and fame. Despite his reputation for violence, he was respected for his fairness and his efforts to maintain order in the rough-and-tumble frontier towns. He remains a legendary figure of the Wild West, a symbol of the spirit of America’s frontier.

4. John Wesley Hardin

John Wesley Hardin

Meet John Wesley Hardin, a notorious gunslinger known for his violent streak and quick draw. He lived a life of lawlessness, leaving a trail of bloodshed across the Wild West.

10 Interesting Facts about Hardin:

  1. Born in Texas in 1853, Hardin claimed to have killed his first man at the age of 15.
  2. He was a talented marksman, known for his lightning-fast draw.
  3. He was imprisoned for killing a black man, serving time in both Texas and Florida.
  4. He was involved in numerous shootouts and is believed to have killed as many as 42 people.
  5. He wrote an autobiography while serving time in prison, which provides a unique perspective on his life of crime.
  6. He escaped from prison twice, once in 1875 and again in 1878.
  7. He was eventually tracked down by a Pinkerton Detective and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
  8. He was shot dead by an off-duty lawman in El Paso in 1895.
  9. He became a legendary figure, and his exploits were celebrated in books, movies, and songs.
  10. Despite his criminal past, many saw him as a Robin Hood-like figure, fighting against the injustices of the Wild West.


John Wesley Hardin lived a life full of adventure, danger, and violence. He was a notorious gunslinger who left a trail of bloodshed in his wake. While some may see him as a Robin Hood-like figure, his legacy is one of violence and lawlessness. Regardless, his life and legend will forever be a part of the Wild West.

3. Butch Cassidy

Butch Cassidy

Butch Cassidy was one of the most notorious outlaws of the Old West, known for his charismatic personality and daring bank and train robberies. He rose to fame as the leader of the “Wild Bunch,” a notorious gang of outlaws.

10 Interesting Facts About Butch Cassidy:

  1. Born as Robert LeRoy Parker in Beaver, Utah in 1866.
  2. Raised in a family of Mormons, he was an outlaw by his early 20s.
  3. His gang, the “Wild Bunch,” included infamous outlaws such as the Sundance Kid.
  4. He was known for his gentlemanly demeanor during his crimes and was well-liked by many in the communities he robbed.
  5. He and the Wild Bunch robbed banks and trains throughout the American West and into South America.
  6. He was rumored to have died in a gunfight in Bolivia in 1908, but some believe he faked his own death and lived under an assumed identity.
  7. Cassidy wrote letters to the governor of Wyoming pleading for amnesty, but these were never answered.
  8. He was the subject of numerous films and television shows, including the 1969 classic “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
  9. His life inspired many works of fiction, but the true details of his crimes and death remain a mystery to this day.
  10. Despite his life of crime, many saw him as a Robin Hood figure who took from the rich and gave to the poor.


Butch Cassidy was one of the most colorful and enigmatic figures of the Wild West. Despite his criminal past, his daring exploits and charming personality have cemented his place in the annals of American folklore. To this day, people remain fascinated by the mystery surrounding his death and the legends surrounding his life.

2. Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid

“Ah, Billy the Kid! The name alone sends shivers down the spines of lawmen and outlaws alike. This young gunslinger left his mark on the American West, blazing a trail of violence and adventure that still captivates us today.”

List of 10 Interesting Facts about Billy:

  1. Born as Henry McCarty, but better known as Billy the Kid.
  2. Grew up in New York and Kansas before moving to New Mexico.
  3. Became a notorious outlaw at the age of 21.
  4. Participated in the Lincoln County War, a conflict between rival factions in New Mexico.
  5. Was wanted for the murder of 21 people, though some estimates put the number higher.
  6. Escaped from jail twice, and was known for his marksmanship and horsemanship.
  7. Became a legendary figure, with tales of his exploits being told for generations.
  8. Was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett at the age of 21.
  9. Was a friend and associate of fellow outlaw Jesse James.
  10. Inspiration for numerous movies, songs, and works of fiction.


Billy the Kid was a product of his time and place, a young man who lived fast and died young. But his legacy lives on, a reminder of the lawlessness and violence that characterized the American West. Whether viewed as a ruthless killer or a folk hero, Billy the Kid will always be remembered as one of the most famous outlaws in the history of the American West.

1. Jesse James

Jesse James

Jesse James, the legendary outlaw and bandit, was a household name in the late 19th century. A master of disguise and deception, James was a notorious criminal who led a gang of robbers and operated in several states across the Midwest.

Interesting Facts about Jesse James:

  1. Jesse James was born in Missouri in 1847.
  2. He was a Confederate guerrilla during the Civil War.
  3. He became a notorious outlaw after the war and was known for his daring bank and train robberies.
  4. He was a member of the James-Younger Gang.
  5. James was never convicted of a crime in his lifetime.
  6. He was killed by a fellow gang member, Robert Ford, in 1882.
  7. His death was widely mourned, and he was seen as a Robin Hood-like figure by many people.
  8. He was the subject of numerous songs, books, and movies.
  9. James was married and had children.
  10. The location of his grave has been the subject of much speculation.


Jesse James remains one of the most famous and mysterious figures in the history of the American Old West. Despite his criminal activities, he was celebrated by many as a symbol of resistance against the established order, and his legacy continues to be a source of fascination and inspiration. To this day, he is remembered as a larger-than-life character and a true outlaw of the frontier.

You can always do more research on these outlaws, by checking out our bibliography of old west outlaws. Or you can read another Top 10 countdown article.