Two Guns Lightning Draw Roundup
While rambling back to Flagstaff from Winslow on Route 66 in my wrangler, I began pursuit of this stormy marauder as it ravaged its way West across the Colorado Plateau, at quite a clip that made it difficult to catch up to it. These ruffians move so fast I couldn't decide where best to hold up to take my aim, as there were several miles between my choices. It had to be close enough to see the whites of its eyes, and have time to setup before it runs away; yet far enough to be safe from ambush or stray buckshot and pull a strong aimed image. The choice was a place I remembered from ages ago when I was a lad, when I first homesteaded to the Arizona territory in '79 -- Two Guns. Then, a place to stretch your legs and freshen up at the local mercantile, starting its decline since the recent mysterious burning of its main livery, and now just the remnants of another Arizona ghost town.
I was scarce of time to deploy, or study the storm pattern, and so I fumbled with my settings on my wide angle as I trotted up to high ground. With a quick draw I raised my 5DS-R canon horizontally on its mount, set my focus to where I saw the most activity while riding up on the scene, squeezed on the lightning trigger, and then let go while taking what felt like my first breath. Before I exhaled the third time, the devil flashed from sky to ground and I had instantly caught one of my quarry's gang members! The ravagers continued a hasty retreat, and so I holstered my wide glass on the right hip, while simultaneously un-holstering my 90D with long glass. Taking 6 long shots as it crossed over the first hill, I captured one more of this gang. Verifying my catches and seeing that the tempests had already traveled too far again, I got my Two Gun shots, and I was more than thankful to sharp-shoot those bounties so quickly. The pursuit must continue into the setting sun, and so I jumped back into the wagon, and whipping the horses, I made haste to my next showdown...Twin Arrows.
Early History of Two Guns:
Native artifacts found at Two Guns have been dated to between 1050 and 1600. As white settlers began to populate the area in the mid-19th century, Two Guns was recognized as an ideal place to cross Canyon Diablo, first by wagon, then later by vehicle.
Two Guns was the site of a mass murder of Apaches by their Navajo enemies in 1878. Some Apaches had hidden in a cave at Two Guns to avoid detection, but were discovered by the Navajos, who lit sagebrush fires at the cave's exit and shot any Apaches trying to escape. The fire asphyxiated 42 Apaches, after which they were stripped of their valuables. The murder site is referred to as the "death cave". (However this story has been disputed).
During the winter of 1879–80, Billy the Kid and his outlaw gang hid in the ruins of a stone house and corral on the west rim of Canyon Diablo, across from Two Guns.
In 1880, long before Two Guns was established as a settlement, the construction of the Santa Fe Railway was progressing across northern Arizona. At the location where the rail line crossed Canyon Diablo, about 3 miles north of Two Guns, construction was delayed while a trestle was built. A settlement populated by male work crews was established near the construction site and was named Canyon Diablo, after the nearby canyon. The settlement quickly became a wild and lawless place as drifters, gamblers, and outlaws made their way to town. Four men employed by the Hashknife Ranch robbed the train at Canyon Diablo in 1889, then fled on horseback with $100,000 in currency, 2,500 new silver dollars, and $40,000 in gold coins, as well as silver watches, jewelry, and diamonds. A posse led by the sheriff pursued the bandits, but recovered less than $100 when the men were captured. Years later, after release from prison, one of the thieves disclosed that the stolen goods, along with their rifles, had been buried in the canyon rim near Two Guns. The location remains popular with treasure hunters.