Lengthy feud between rival factions in Lincoln County, New Mexico in the 1870s and 1880s.

It all began when lawyer Alexander McSween, John Chisum, and an Englishman named John Tunstall tried to break the Murphy-Dolan-Riley monopoly that owned the store, bank, hotel, saloon, freighting, and law in Lincoln. Skirmishes between the two factions started in 1875, when McSween refused to sell a dead client's 300 head of cattle to Murphy.

After the McSween-Chisum-Tunstall faction built a rival store in Lincoln, the Murphy-Dolan-Riley faction tried to force them out of business, even recruiting the sheriff to threaten potential customers away from the new store.

The local magistrate slapped attachments on all of McSween's property, which included Tunstall's ranch. An extremely large posse of 30 men set out on February 18, 1878 to raid the ranch. Tunstall had been tipped off the night before and set off for town accompanied by his ranch hands (including William Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid) to discuss the attachments. However, the posse gunned Tunstall down in the road.

A week later, one of Tunstall's hands finagled the constableship and issued arrest warrants for the outlaw posse members--only two were captured and killed, while the others eluded arrest.

A couple of months later, the sheriff and one of his deputies were shot from behind a wall. Billy the Kid and another two Tunstall hands were indicted, but the killing brought the army into town. McSween and a dozen men holed up in his townhouse and traded shots with the Murphy faction on July 15. A troop of 60 soldiers, accompanied by a Gatling gun and a howitzer from Fort Stanton, arrived on the 19th. The house was set on fire to prevent the men from escaping under the cover of darkness--about half the men, including Billy the Kid, escaped, but McSween was shot five times as he ran out his front door. With McSween's death, the war ended.

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