Classic Gunfights

A Wild Time at Wildly Well

Pat Garrett vs Oliver Lee & Jim Gililland

Pat Garrett vs Oliver Lee & Jim Gilliland.

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July 12, 1898

At around 4 a.m., Doña Ana County Sheriff Pat Garrett and his posse are trying to sneak up on murder suspects Oliver Lee and Jim Gilliland at Lee’s Wildy Well Ranch, east of the Jarilla Mountains in New Mexico.

Lee and Gililland are wanted for the murder of Albert Jennings Fountain and his eight-year-old son Henry.


For Garrett, it’s almost 17 years to the day since the incident that made him famous (or infamous)—the killing of Billy the Kid. This is a chance for him to reclaim some of the glory that had eluded him since that night in Fort Sumner. He may be able to restart a law enforcement career that stalled more than a decade ago.

He’s headed for a disappointment.

The lawmen break into the adobe house—and find the Madison family, asleep in their beds. Lee and Gililland are asleep on the adobe’s flat roof, and protected by a two-foot high wall.

Garrett and his men leave the house and reposition themselves, ready for a fight. He leads two of them onto the roof of the shed attached to...

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