A Teenager Who Led a Multi-ethnic Gang That Terrorized Oklahoma
Rufus Buck (1877 – 1896) was born to a Native American father and an African American mother, in the Indian Territory that comprised today’s Oklahoma. He gained infamy as a teenager, when he formed a multiethnic gang of Native American, African American, and mixed-race teens, and led them on a horrific rampage. Upset by the plight of his father’s people, Rufus Buck became a zealot and decided to spark a Native American uprising. To bring it about, he led his gang on a depraved rampage of robbery, rape, and murder, that terrorized white settlers, Indians, and African Americans alike.
As a prelude, Buck and his gang began stockpiling weapons in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. They kicked off their rampage on July 28th, 1895, by shooting a deputy US Marshal to death. On the way back from the murder, they raped a middle-aged widow. They also killed a man while robbing him of his horse. A few days later, the Buck gang robbed a salesman and his assistant. They then stripped the salesman naked, and toying with him like cats with a mouse, offered him a chance to escape.
Unexpectedly, the naked salesman actually managed to escape. So they took out their frustration on his assistant, whom they murdered. Buck and his gang then raped and murdered two women, plus a 14-year-old girl. On August 4th, they raped a woman in front of her husband, whom they held at bay with rifles. At least two of their rape victims died of their injuries.
Indian Police and white settlers formed posses to track down the gang. However, while the posses raced around the countryside in search of Buck and his gang, the homicidal teenagers brazenly rode into Okmulgee, where they robbed three stores. Along the way, whenever they encountered somebody riding a horse they liked, they offered to trade, and shot any rider who refused. Outside Eufala, they encountered a black child, and shot him just to watch him twitch as he died.
US Marshalls finally tracked the murderous teens to a hideout near Muskogee, on August 10th, 1895. After a furious firefight, Buck and his gang were forced to surrender when their ammunition ran out. They were taken into Muskogee, where they encountered a Creek mob determined to lynch them. They escaped only after a tribal chief pleaded with the mob to disperse, and the US Marshalls vowed to shoot the first man who tried to seize their prisoners. Buck and his gang were then taken to Fort Smith for trial. They were found guilty of rape, murder, and robbery, sentenced to death, and hanged on July 1st, 1896.