Sunday, March 2, 2014

Luke Short and Luke Short

The sketch, not an exact likeness, in the header above is of the real Luke Short, the gunfighter, who died peacefully in September 1893 in Geuda Springs, Kansas. He had quite a life as a farmer, cowboy, whiskey peddler, gambler, Army scout, dispatch rider, and saloon keeper. As a teenager he said he killed another youth with a pair of scissors and left home and became a cowboy herding cattle to Kansas and went to Abilene where he tried professional gambling to make a living. He later moved to Nebraska and sold whiskey at a trading post north of Sidney, some of it to the Sioux. He was hired by the Army to be a scout, but prior to that he worked in the Cowboy Rest Saloon in Ogallala for a year or so, sometimes in the company of Bat Masterson.

Luke Short went down to Dodge City where he met Wyatt Earp, and Bat Masterson was there, too. Short moved on to Leadville, Colorado, and later to Tombstone, Arizona, working for Wyatt Earp as a faro dealer. He killed Charlie Storms, a gunfighter and professional gambler, at close range after a confrontation after Storms had pulled him off the street, pulled his gun to shoot him, but was too slow. Self-defense it was judged.

In 1883, Short was in Dodge City, becoming half-owner of the Long Branch Saloon. He was in the Dodge City War when others tried to force him out of the Long Branch. With the aid of Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp and others the War ended without a shot being fired. Luke later sold his part of the Saloon and went to Ft. Worth, Texas, where he got into a gunfight with the Marshall, Jim Courtright, and killed him. Self-defense again. Short, over the next few years, moved from town to town and invested in various gambling interests before passing away.

The other Luke Short was really Frederick Dilly Glidden, western writer. He graduated from the University of Missouri where he studied journalism. He was born in Illinois on November 19, 1908, and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a couple of years before the U of Missouri. He worked for various newspapers before becoming a trapper in Canada and moving on to be an archeologist's assistant in New Mexico.

Mister Glidden became interested in the western pulps and then began writing western stories and novels using the name of Luke Short. He wrote about 60 novels and several short stories and continued until his death in l975. His ashes were buried in Aspen, Colorado, his home at that time.

This information was taken from the Wikipedia sites on each man.


  1. Another one of those colorful characters out of the old west. Nice to hear a mention of Ogallala, Nebraska, a less well known but great old west town. Guess we now know for sure Miss Kitty didn't really own the Long Branch.

  2. Shucks, maybe she just worked there.

  3. Weirdly, I just finished reading a book by the second Luke Short last night. King Colt. Enjoyed it.

    1. Don't remember reading that one yet, but my memory isn't what it used to be..