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Front Page » August 5, 2004 » Local News » Tracing the Outlaw Trail
Published 4,082 days ago

Tracing the Outlaw Trail

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Arden Stewart talks about cowboy sheriffs.

The annual gathering of the Western Outlaw-Lawman Association is always held in an area with a lot of outlaw history. It was certainly no surprise when Price was selected to host the 2004 convention. With its colorful history sitting on the center of the "Outlaw Trail" numerous outlaws around the turn of the century wandered through this area regularly. Famous names such as Matt Warner, Butch Cassidy, Jack Watson, the Wild bunch, Flat-Nosed George Currie and Elzy Lay all have roots and history in Castle Country.

About 100 members of the association from all over the United State and England traveled to Price last week and spent three days listening, talking, attending workshops, tours, and reenactments.

Local historian Joel Frandsen was one of the coordinators who brought it all together. Frandsen, like many other WOLA members are authors and have written books and articles about outlaw activities. One of Frandsen's articles was the slaying of Jack Watson on the streets of Price in 1898. That article was published in the Outlaw Trail Journal and earned him an award at last year's convention.

Price now joins other cities such as Deadwood, S.D.; Craig, Colo.; Buffalo, Wyo.; and Tombstone, Ariz. as having hosted the annual convention.

As one might imagine not everyone who attends the convention is in agreement with each other. Much of the controversy over whether or not Butch Cassidy returned to United States or was killed in South America was high on the discussion list last week. Some of the keynote speakers included Jon and Donna Skovlin talking about Tom McCarty, "Man on the Go," Steve Lacey retraced the Matt Warner story and Joel Frandsen told his story on the Slaying of Jack Watson, while Duan DeJournetter filled the group in on the Wild Bunch memories by Josie Bassett.

Gunplay Maxwell shot near the railroad tracks.

In addition to the numerous workshops and speakers the group entertained by the Castle Gate Posse and Rio Verde Rangers from Green River with reenactments of the deaths of Gunplay Maxwell and Jack Watson. Iris Howe wrote the script and the scenes were played out by members of the two groups.

Some of the tours included a bus trip up the canyon to visit the site of the infamous payroll robbery at the Castle Gate mine, a visit to Matt Warner's home, and notable grave sites in the Price Cemetery.

On Friday the group was flown or driven up to the Tavaputs Ranch, high above the desert overlooking Desolation Canyon. Many of the early outlaws used trails in Desolation Canyon, along the Green River to get from Carbon and Emery county to their hide-outs in Wyoming. Butch Jensen, Arden Stewart and Harvey Murdock were all featured speakers at the ranch. Points of interest include the death of Flat-Nose George Currie and the death of Sheriff Jesse Tyler and Deputy Sam Jenkins.

The group's president is Mark Boardman from Lafayette, Ind.

History books could be written just on the material that was covered in the four days while in Price and Castle Country. Many of the attendees have vast interest and knowledge in the historical events that shaped the west. The outlaws played a large role in the history and Price was honored to host the 2004 convention.

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