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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Chronicle of the Old West: Frank Loving makes his name as a gunfighter in Dodge City

Levi Richardson was a buffalo hunter who had become a freighter. He was a well-liked, hard working individual who was known for his proficiency with a pistol and rifle… As well as a quick temper.

Frank Loving, also known as "Cock-eyed" Frank because his eyes tended to look toward each other, was an ex-cowboy turned gambler.

Loving, unlike Richardson, was known to have a steady nerve. Both men were spending some time in Dodge City, Kansas.

It seems that Levi Richardson fell in love with a young woman. Unfortunately, for him, she was Loving's wife, Mattie. .

It was about 8:00 Saturday evening, April 5, 1879. Richardson was warming himself at the potbelly stove in the Long Branch Saloon, when Loving came in and took a seat at one of the gambling tables. Richardson went to the table.

A few, less than genteel, words were exchanged. With both men standing face to face, Richardson went for his gun. He pulled off a shot. Loving's first shot misfired.

Loving then ran behind the potbelly stove. But Richardson was right behind him taking two more shots.

Fortunately, for Loving, after that first misfire, his gun performed flawlessly. Using cool deliberation, Loving shot Richardson in the chest, side and arm.

He died on the spot. Loving suffered only a scratch on the hand.

After the smoke settled, both guns were checked. In the fracas, both men had emptied them.

The amazing thing about the gunfight was that with lead flying everywhere in a crowded room, no bystander was hit.

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