A gunfight that erupted suddenly in the normally peaceful town of Dodge City claimed the life of a popular lawman yesterday. Marshall Matt Dillon was gunned down at high noon at the center of town, just outside of The Long Branch Saloon. Apparently, Dillon had agreed to a gunfight with longtime Dodge City resident and troublemaker, Dirk McSorley. According to eyewitnesses Dillon and McSorley both walked out from adjoining streets into the center of Main Street and proceeded to square off at around noon yesterday. Witnesses say that McSorley and Dillon faced each other, fair and square, with McSorley getting the drop on the Marshall. According to eyewitness and Deputy, Festus Hagen, Dillon appeared to have his gun out first but for some reason did not attempt to fire immediately. “Matthew had his gun out mighty quick, said Hagen, but, for some gosh darn reason, didn’t pull the trigger.” “It was as if he done froze up,” Hagen added.
According to another eyewitness, Dodge City’s medical examiner Doc Adams, he had been treating Dillon for some arthritis in his shooting hand as recently as last week and it may have played a role in Dillon’s difficulty in squeezing the trigger on his revolver. “Matt was really have some trouble with that hand,” said Adams. “He was even having trouble shaking hands.” “I don’t know why he agreed to a gunfight knowing he was having a problem,” he added.
When asked if it was possible the gun malfunctioned, local gunsmith Newly O’Brien, dismissed the notion. “I checked over Matt’s gun just about a week ago and the piece was in great condition.” I can’t imagine it was possible for the gun to mess up, Matt always took good care of his weapon,” added O’Brien. “It’s a complete shock.”
Longtime Dillon lady friend, Miss Kitty Blake, owner of the Long Branch Saloon, was in tears upon hearing the news. “All these years flirting with Matt and he never as much as kissed me and now he’s gone for good.” “I don’t know if I will ever get over this.” Funeral arrangements for Dillon are incomplete at this time.