ALMOST WANTED

ALMOST WANTED


1968, fictitious bookcover with pseudo-review

HENRY FRAMPTON: ALMOST WANTED - NOT SO FAMOUS OUTLAWS DESPERADOS & GUNSLINGERS OF THE WEST. Tumbleweed Press, 1968; 258 pages, hardcover. - Everybody knows about Billy the Kid, Jesse James, the Daltons, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, etc etc – but what about those little-known individuals who attempted to follow their footsteps but failed miserably? In his latest book Henry Frampton has succeeded in tracking down those outlaws, desperados and gunslingers of the West who were almost wanted but never quite managed to have a reward put on their heads. Frampton has devoted one chapter to each of them; thus the Contents page reads like a list of forlorn, pathetic figures: Bill "Navajo" Blankitt, Wild Jim Bollocks, The Sundog Trail Kid, Slim Chance, Fat Chance, Elroy Equalizer, the Black Gringo, Butch Kesselring, Catastrophe Jane, Ol' Pat Turret, Liberty Palance, Manos Arriba, Mosquito Theroux, Ruthless Bachler, Redneck Injun, Chilkoot Johnson, Klondike Charlie, Little Big Mandy, Wyatt "Burp" Watson, the Tennessee Stud, Hoss Cartwheel, the Tombstone Twins, Alan Bourdillion Traherne (aka Mississippi), Rattlesnake Rawlins, Tumbleweed Tedesco, and Hank de Ville. The latter is arguably the most pathetic figure of them all; the only photo that exists of him can be seen on the front cover of the book. Born in Hanksville, Utah in 1876, de Ville joined Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch in 1896. However, he always had to stay behind at their hideout, the Robbers Roost, while the gang robbed a bank or held up a train. Then on April 5, 1897 he almost got into a fight with the Sundance Kid, trying to punch him in the face and shouting, "Looky here, I ain't innarested in sweepin' the floor and washin' them dishes for y'all dumb-ass fellas no more." Naturally, the Sundance Kid was not impressed, and de Ville was kicked out of the gang. He subsequently worked in Moab as a bank clerk, cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis, pumped a lot of paint down in New Orleans, and did in fact hundreds of other odd jobs. In 1901, becoming somewhat frustrated, he attempted to hold up the same train three times in a row, obviously inspired by Butch Cassidy who had indeed succeeded in robbing the same train twice. He was almost run over by the third train and immediately arrested by the Pinkertons but managed to escape from the Escalante county jail. He was last seen in Kayenta building a boat, claiming he wanted to sail down to Bolivia "to meet a couple old pals." - © Bernd Wahlbrinck

Bernd Wahlbrinck