The Banditti of the Plains


Or, The Cattleman’s Invasion of Wyoming in 1892. Mercer, A.S. The Grabhorn Press; 1935. Limited edition of one thousand copies. Illustrated by Arvilla Parker. Introduction by James Mitchell Clarke. Fine cloth and paper. 136pp. 8vo. Near fine.

3Limited reprint of “one of the rarest and most sought items of Western Americana”, according to the publisher. Volume concerns the first-hand account of an obscure Wyoming conflict between gunslingers and ranchers on one side, and cattle barons on the other. Illustrated with chapter headings, and bound in orange paper boards with a cream-colored spine. Includes a laid-in brochure from The Grabhorn Press. Mild edge wear externally, with a thoroughly crisp interior.


On April 5, 1892, 52 armed men rode a private, secret train north from Cheyenne. Just outside Casper, Wyo., they switched to horseback and continued north toward Buffalo, Wyo., the Johnson County seat. Their mission was to shoot or hang 70 men named on a list carried by Frank Canton, one of the leaders of this invading force.

The invaders (as they came to be known) included some of the most powerful cattlemen in Wyoming, their top employees and 23 hired guns. The invasion resulted from long‑standing disputes between these cattle barons, who owned herds numbering in the thousands, and small operators, most running just enough cattle to support their families. The event came to be called the Johnson County War. Longtime Wyoming historian T.A. Larson ranked it “the most notorious event in the history of Wyoming.”

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