Unsettling Photos That Show The Dark Side of the Wild West

By | December 13, 2022

Olive Oatman was abducted and sold to the Mohave tribe who gave her a noticable blue tattoo on her face 

History books tell us a simple story about the old west. There are tales of cowboys, Native Americans, and law west of the Pecos... but it's not the whole story. These beautifully colorized photos tell the real story about the wild west.

These snapshots of gunslingers, lawmen, and '49ers on the search for gold will show you what the history books never could. Look closer... in each photo you'll find an entire life story full of ups and downs.

Each rare colorized photo collected here has the ability to transport you back to one of the most beloved eras of America... when the west was still being won. Keep searching and discover the true story of the old west.

test article image
(wikimedia commons)

After she was kidnapped by an unknown Native American tribe from her homestead in what we now know as Arizona in 1851, Olive oatman was sold to the Mohave people. She spent five years living with them. During that time they tattooed her face with the blue ink that you can see clearly in the photo.

Oatman was released after half a decade and she immediately returned home. A book was written about her time with the Mohave and she went on a tour that helped push sales to more than 30,000 copies. After the hubub died down she moved to Sherman, Texas where she became involved with charity work while wearing a veil over her tattoo.

test article image
source: wikimedia commons

The greatest shot in the wild west, Annie Oakley could take out a target on a moonless night in the middle of a dense fog. Born Phoebe Ann Moses, she started sharpshooting at the age of 15 and quickly rose to local fame after winning a marksmanship competition. It didn't take long before she started adding a flair of showmanship to her routine.

Shortly afterwards she joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show with Frank Butler - the man who she bested in the marksmanship contest. As her fame rose Oakley inspired women to follow in her footsteps. She went so far as to petition the U.S. government to let her take up arms during World War I with a group of female sharpshooters but her request was denied.