It is purported that the following notable figures in our history had gathered together for a hunting trip to Hunter Hot Springs, Montana:
Wyatt Earp, Theodore Roosevelt, Doc Holiday, “Liver Eating” Johnson, Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid, Bat Materson, and Judge Roy Bean.
A Journey of Discovery
The first time I saw this photograph, which is dated 1883, was in the hall of history at Kalispell Center Mall. It was one of many black and white pictures hanging in the hallway leading to the restroom. My family and I often seek out the little gems, and we knew we had struck gold when we discovered the historical photographs. The pictures were charming and educational as well. They took us on a journey of discovery back in time to the early settlement of Kalispell, over 100 years ago.
We were intrigued when we ran across the infamous Hunter Hot Springs photo. It was thoroughly amazing to think that these well-known men gathered all together; then posed for a photo, no less. Lawmen, outlaws, and a future president, all in one setting; how incredible is that? My camera follows me a lot of places, so of course I took a picture.
Is it a Fake?
Since then, I’ve done a bit of research into this mysterious photograph. It seems there is some debate as to its authenticity. It is well known that Teddy Roosevelt was an avid hunter and had a ranch in North Dakota (which is next door to Montana), but it is questionable if he was hunting in Montana at the time of the picture.
Others say Butch Cassidy and Sundance would have been about 17 when the photo was taken. They attest that the men in the picture don’t look that young. I’m not so sure. Have you ever seen how teenagers used to look back then? Very adult-like.
The date of the photo also seems to raise questions. Morgan Earp, Wyatt’s brother, had been murdered the year before in 1882, hence would not have been around in 1883 for a hunting trip.
It is Valuable!
Another interesting fact that I found out about this fascinating photograph is that it is considered a collectible by some. From what I understand, they are willing to pay a pretty good price for it.
Genuine or fake?
I am no expert as to its authenticity. However, I do know that the Hunter Hot Springs mystery photograph captivates me. I am enthralled by the possibilities of lawmen, outlaws, and future presidents getting together for a hunting trip. To me this historical photo is priceless. As one that romanticizes the old west, the cast of characters in this photograph provide me with the mystery and intrigue of a bygone era to do just that.
Other articles you may enjoy:
“Five Reasons to Avoid Black Friday!” – it’s all about my awful experience of going shopping at the Kalispell Center Mall the day after Thanksgiving.