Rufus Buck Gang

Rufus Buck Gang

July 6th is the anniversary of the hanging of the Rufus Buck Gang- four black and Indian teens who tried to singlehandedly, violently halt the expansion of the burgeoning United States. You’ve never heard of them, but they stand among the most notorious and politically significant outlaws of the Old West.

The famous “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker oversaw the Buck Gang’s capture and condemned them to death. They were associated with the infamous half-black, half-Cherokee outlaw Cherokee Bill. Their crimes were motivated by the U.S. annexation of “Indian Territory” (today’s Oklahoma). The socio-politics surrounding the Buck Gang rampage clearly heralded the emergence of the 20th century United States.

The Rufus Buck Gang weren’t gunslingers like Billy the Kid, or thieves like the James-Younger gang. They wanted justice, and they sought it with the same violence that had marked their histories as blacks and Indians in America.

The Indian Territory of the late 20th century was a racial melting pot. It contained more whites than Indians as well as a significant population of black Freemen. Judge Parker’s principal deputy was a black man named Bass Reeves. Whites had come to usurp the promised Indian lands, bit by bit. But in Washington, laws were being passed to allow the wholesale submersion of Indian Territories into the United States. Native people would lose their last chance at a homeland. This enraged Buck.

By 1895 “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker had been the sole law in Indian Territory for decades. His last major duty was to capture the Rufus Buck Gang, who embarked on a 13-day rampage in the vain hope of inciting the Territory’s blacks and Indians to violent rebellion against the encroaching United States.

Fredric Durrette served one tour in Vietnam, retired as E8 in the navy submarine service after 23 years. Major hobbies are collecting old stuff from the 20s and restoring old racing bicycles. Worked as a commercial photographer at JL Hudsons in Detroit and continue photography as a hobby. Love Sade, sixties soul, seventies rock, and all jazz. Attended Woodstock in 69!