Classic Gunfights

The Gang Slayer

Captain Jonathan Davis vs. 14 Polyglot Killers.

Captain Jonathan Davis vs. 14 Polyglot Killers

Click image above for larger view

December 19, 1854

Three American prospectors are traversing a miner’s trail in California’s Sierra Nevadas.

As Captain Jonathan Davis, James McDonald and Dr. Bolivar Sparks walk up the trail, they are ambushed by a large gang of bandits (two Americans, one Frenchman, two Britons, five Sydney Ducks and four Mexicans). The gang has been on a two-day violent crime spree, killing and robbing six Chinese and four Americans.


Jumping out of the brush with pistols blazing, the outlaws cut down James McDonald, who dies without drawing his weapon. Dr. Sparks yanks his six-shooter and gets off two shots before he is badly wounded and drops to the ground.

Captain Davis pulls two pistols and begins returning fire, dropping outlaws with almost every shot. Several outlaw balls rip through the captain’s clothing (a friend later counts six bullet holes in Davis’ hat). Despite his two slight flesh wounds, Capt. Davis stands his ground, emptying both pistols with deadly accuracy. Seven of his attackers lay writhing and dying in front of him on the rocky terrain.

Four more robbers—all armed with Bowie knives, and one with a short sword—warily advance on the captain to finish him off. Davis pulls...

The full text of this article is available to True West Magazine subscribers only.

Get instant access to subscriber content on!

When it comes to keeping the lore of the West alive, nobody does it better. True West readers get the no-holds-barred, straight shootin' facts about the West from our staff of experts and historians.

Save up to 67% off the newsstand cover price!

1 year (12 issues) - only $29.95
(Newsstand cover price--$71.88)

For even greater savings:

2 years (24 issues) - only $49.95
(Newsstand cover price--$143.76)

3 years (36 issues) - only $69.95
(Newsstand cover price--$215.64) BEST OFFER!

After subscribing, just come back here and register with us by clicking on the register link below.


True West Magazine Issue November 2014
Buy This Back Issue: Nov 2014


True West Magazine Issue December 2014
Buy This Back Issue: Dec 2014


True West Magazine Issue January 2015
Buy This Back Issue: Jan 2015


True West Magazine Issue February 2015
Buy This Back Issue: Feb 2015

MARCH 2015

True West Magazine Issue March 2015
Buy This Back Issue: March 2015

True West Site Guide


True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

Western movie fans, re-enactors, history buffs and road warriors, we got your history covered: outlaw, cowboy, Indian, lawman, gunfighter, fur trapper, miner, prospector, gambler, soldier, entertainer and pioneer. Check out these True Westerners now!

Product of the Month

The Illustrated Life and Times of Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp

"Your book is fascinating, coupling your powerful illustrations [and] tracking...from birth to Tombstone to the legend [Wyatt] had become;...even Wyatt would approve." --By Hugh O'Brian, of the TV series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp

"Hands down the definitive books on Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday." --By Allen Barra, New York Newsday