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Thom Ross
Artist: Thom Ross, Title: The Diary of Nate Champion - click for larger image
The Diary of Nate Champion
36 x 48 Inches  Acrylic on Canvas   Sold
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Nate Champion was a cowboy/cattle rustler who lived in Johnson County, Wyoming. He was the leader of an outlaw gang known as the "Red Sash Gang", so named because of the red sashes they wore around their waist. But as the unelected "leader" of the homesteaders, nesters etc. he became the prime target for the wrath of the large cattle owners who resented the invasion of their lands by these people. A "war" began in which several people on both sides were murdered or hung. Eventually, a large force of gunmen were hired to raid the Hole-in-the-Wall, a major hiding place for cattle rustlers. On the morning of April 8, 1892, this lumbering herd of killers came upon a small cabin on the KC Ranch. Once it was surrounded two trappers who came outside were captured. They informed the gunmen that only two men, Nick Rae and Nate Champion, were still inside. Rae made a run for it and was gunned down. Champion fought on throughout the day, keeping the large force of gunmen at bay. Finally they took a wagon and lighting it on fire, they rolled it up to the cabin which then burst into flames. As the cabin burned down, Champion kept up his gunfire. He even took to writing in a diary, noting how the fight was going and then telling how the cabin was burning down around him. Then, with a flair, he wrote, "the house is now all fired. Good-bye boys if I will never see you again....." He then darted out the door and was shot to pieces; on his perforated chest the gunmen pinned a note saying "Rustlers Beware." His tale is part of the movie, "Heaven's Gate," which starred Christopher Walken as Nate. This painting shows Nate firing out of a window, his dairy and pencil lie on the floor amongst the many spent shells.
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