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Mysterious Dave

Ya never know what yer gonna uncover when ya go digging into the history of the Old West. I just finished up an article for the next issue of the Kansas Cowboy that chock full of mystery and intrigue. Dont why they have ta make up stories for the movies when they have some of the best dang stories already there in real life!  
In fact a little scene from Open Range with Kevin Kostner was actually a part of this particular story. The fellow is Mysterious Dave Mather. He was known mostly around Dodge City and Las Vegas, New Mexico. He actually WAS known by the name Mysterious Dave and with good reason. Just about everything he did involved an air of mystery. But I wanted to point out one particular event in his life.  
In January of 1880, Mysterious Dave had just been through a shootout that had left Las Vegas Marshal Joe Carson and two of the Dutch Henry gang dead. Dutch and two others escaped and lost the posse in the hills. As assistant marshal Dave was now the top lawman in town. Citizens were on edge fearing that Dutch would return with his outlaw gang to take revenge. Someone saw some men ride into town leaving their horses saddled at the blacksmiths shop as though they were prepared for a fast getaway.  
A railroad man by the name of Joseph Castello had hired some Kansas men to work as a road crew on the line that was being built and they were doing their best to drink the town dry. The men were very drunk and some of them were fighting. Castello was doing his best to hold them in line. He drew his pistol on two of them ordering them to calm down when Dave appeared. Seeing the weapon and suspecting more were in the crowd Mysterious Dave ordered everyone to put up their guns saying that there had been enough trouble in Las Vegas lately. Castello must have taken offense at Mysterious Dave stepping in and ordering his men around for instead of putting his gun away he turned on Dave and ordered him not to move another step.  
Calmly Dave drew his pistol as he stepped forward and as described by the Las Vegas Daily Optic, in the twinkling of an eye, almost before the breathless bystanders had time to see a movement on his part, he drew his trusty revolver from its place and Fired One Shot. 
Unlike Kevin Costner, Mysterious Dave gut shot Castello in a manner that Wild Bill Hickok claimed was the surest way to put a man out of commission. Castello was hit in the left side below the ribs. The ball passed through the stomach and liver.  
Another divergence from the movies where the bad guy always dies at least fairly soon after he is shot, Castello was carried to an office where he was tended to by a doctor who really could do nothing for him. He suffered in agony through the night and died at 6 the next morning.  
Mysterious Dave continued in his unpredictable ways building up a legend that is unmatched in western history. You can get all the unexpected details in the next issue of the Kansas Cowboy. It is history you wont find on the street corner. Try on some history with a subscription! Just click Join The Cowboy Society on the side of this page. Youll be glad ya did!  
So Long, 
The Cowboy 


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