History 430: Theory and Practice

Document Type

Undergraduate Research

Publication Date

Fall 12-13-2010


During the year 1918, the criminal ring of the Tri-State mining district was at an all time high. Criminals like Dan Isley, Cedar Red, Harold Pickett, Jimmie Gardner, and the corrupt deputy Sheriff George Gibson terrorized the citizens of Picher, Oklahoma and the surrounding mining towns. These men were solely responsible for bringing and allowing a drug peddling circuit, prostitution, and bootlegging of illegal whiskey and liquor. During the criminal trusts height, the local newspapers of J.J. Shepherd displayed the truths of the illegal actions. These local publications gave the other side of the stories that the corrupt sheriff and local court judges tried to hide. The outlaws ran the local mining towns on fear, because of this fear the people never rallied against the criminals. Even with local publications exposing the truth of the criminals, the corruption went too deep in the law enforcement and local courts. The criminal ring prevented the growth of citizens to develop a stronger civil government. In the towns it was a classic cowboy rebellion type town. It was common for the citizens who worked, lived or shopped in the Tri-State district to witness murder, riots and obvious thievery.