Trinidad Gunfight

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Trinidad Gunfight (April 16, 1882) was a gunfight of the Old West that took place in Trinidad, Colorado, between two professional gamblers, Frank Loving and John Allen. The gunfight is notable in that Loving was, during his time, known as having a reputation as a gunman, due to his having killed Levi Richardson in the Long Branch Saloon Gunfight.

The gunfight

On April 15, 1882, an argument over a game of cards led to both Frank Loving and John Allen drawing their pistols on one another in downtown Trinidad, on Main Street. Friends intervened, before it became violent. However, the next morning Loving entered the Imperial Saloon where Allen worked, with his pistol drawn. Allen drew and fired one round at Loving, missing, to which Loving responded by firing a shot at Allen, also missing. When people began to scramble in an attempt to leave, the gun was accidentally knocked from Loving's hand.

Shielding himself behind another man, Allen fired another shot at Loving, missing, then as Loving bent over to retrieve his revolver Allen fired yet a third shot, again missing. Allen headed for the rear door of the saloon, with Loving in pursuit, firing until his own revolver was emptied, missing with each attempt. Allen ran into the alley behind the saloon, then took refuge a few doors down in Hammond's Hardware Store.

By that time, James Masterson, a former Dodge City, Kansas Marshal, had arrived. Masterson was at the time working as a town deputy marshal in Trinidad. Loving was disarmed by Masterson, who then went looking for John Allen, but could not find him. When Masterson returned to the Imperial Saloon, he found that Loving had obtained two more revolvers and went looking for Allen. Masterson went after him, catching him at the Catholic Convent, at which point Masterson again disarmed Loving, for the second time, then again Masterson went looking for John Allen.

Masterson heard a shot come from Hammond's Hardware Store. Responding, Masterson and local Town Marshal Lou Kreeger found that Frank Loving had entered the store to replenish his ammunition, only to be shot in the back by Allen, who was hiding in the back of the store. The two lawmen arrested John Allen while he hid in the back of the store. Loving stated upon seeing Masterson, "Jim, I'm shot". Loving was treated for his wound, but died five days later, on April 21, 1880. Allen was tried for murder in September, 1880, but was acquitted due to Loving having some notoriety as being a dangerous man, and Allen being able to successfully argue that he feared for his life. Allen is sometimes referred to by historical references as a "gunman", when in fact he was not. This was his only known armed encounter, and was, by historical accounts, more a result of him hiding until an opportune moment, rather than an actual gunfight. Allen eventually moved to Dodge City, where he became a preacher.

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