Copyright 2009 by William A. Mays, Proprietor
August 10, 1878
Lively Scene at a Variety Performance.
      DODGE CITY, Kan., July 26.–The following are the details of a recent occurrence which is not an unusual one here. This city is a great cattle centre, and bears a pretty bad reputation abroad. Although we have an efficient police force who are always quick to quell any disturbance, considerable excitement was occasioned last night, which had its origin in this manner: Wyatt Erpe, a good fellow and brave officer, had an altercation with a "cow-boy," when the latter, getting worsted, went for assistance and revenge, which was obtained from a number of mounted Texans who rode by a variety hall run by Dick Brown and Ben Springer, and fired a volley into the hall, which is a frame "frontier theatre," and was beautifully perforated with bullets. At the time of the firing a banjoist was giving his performance on the stage, and a number of girls and men were seated in front and in the boxes. The audience was thrown into considerable consternation at this unexpected episode in the performance, but numerous six-shooters were promptly drawn and the fire of the "cow-boys" was vigorously returned from the windows, one at least of the attacking party falling from his horse wounded as the result. There were some narrow escapes from death, or injury from the shots of the assailants on the part of the audience. The "cow-boys" were pursued and one of their number was shot through the arm. Brown and Springer are very popular with the citizens and Texans generally, having the reputation of having one of the best variety companies west of the Missouri river, and the only reason for the attack on their hall was a reckless whim on the part of the "cow-boys."
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The following article contains the first mention of the legendary Wyatt Earp–misspelled "Erpe"–in the Police Gazette. Wyatt Earp is the subject of a new PBS American Experience documentary.
[Special Correspondence of POLICE GAZETTE.]