20. The Old West Outlaw Who Became a Lawman
John King Fisher (1853 – 1884) started off as an Old West outlaw, but ended his days as a lawman. Born and raised in Texas, Fisher had turned bad at an early age. When he was fifteen-years-old, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment for horse theft, but won early release because of his youth. Soon thereafter, he joined a group of bandits who raided across the border into Mexico, and began to adopt a flamboyant persona. He dressed in flashy clothes, such as a black Mexican jacket embroidered with gold, a red sash, a wide sombrero, and sported silver-plated and ivory-handled pistols.
He styled himself a gunslinger, and proved himself one when a dispute over the division of the loot triggered a shootout in which a teenaged Fisher killed three fellow bandits. After the gun smoke cleared, Fisher took over as gang leader, and over subsequent months, he killed seven more bandits to defend his leadership claim. In 1872, he bought a ranch on the Mexican border and used it as a base of operations for cattle rustling raids into Mexico. The Texas Rangers eventually raided the ranch and arrested Fisher, but released him upon his promise to cease raiding. He then tried his hand at legitimate cattle ranching, but ranch operations were frequently impeded by his violent temper.