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Gruesome murder spot under a fluffy shroud of Wyoming winter snow.
Gruesome murder spot under a fluffy shroud of Wyoming winter snow.

Killed Here by Indians

Field review by the editors.

Lander, Wyoming

Three hopeful gold prospectors -- Harvey Morgan, Jerome Mason, and Dr. Rufus Barr -- took an unwise trip into the Wind River Valley of Wyoming on June 27, 1870. Surrounded by hostile Native Americans, they fought a long, hard battle but were eventually killed. Newspaper accounts at the time describe in lurid detail the atrocities that were performed on their corpses. Harvey in particular became a posthumous celebrity for having a wagon spike pounded sideways through his head.

The attack was gruesome even by Wild West standards, so the trailside murder spot -- renamed Dead Man's Gulch -- was marked with an engraved rock. It was so well-known that in 1883 it was visited by U.S. President Chester A. Arthur on his trip to Yellowstone.

The rock is still there, and the former trail is now US Highway 287. Harvey's skull, with the spike embedded in it, is on display six miles up the road in the Fremont County Pioneer Museum.

It wasn't until the 1990s that an osteological exam revealed that Harvey had also been scalped. Apparently he'd had so many worse things done to his body that no one at the time had bothered to report it.

Killed Here by Indians

US-287, Lander, WY
On the east side of US-287, either six miles south of Lander or 2.5 miles north of US-287's intersection with WY-28.
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