Curly Bill History

Possible Origins

Texas Arrest and Conviction


Supposed Killing by Wyatt Earp

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About Steve Gatto

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Curly Bill Brocius History Page

"Tombstone's Most Famous Outlaw"


William Brocius, aka William Bresnaham, who is best known under the sobriquet Curly Bill, was a cowboy, rustler, outlaw, and a so-called gang leader in Southeastern Arizona during the early 1880s. Curly Bill shot and killed Tombstone City Marshal Fred White during October 1880. Although the charge against Curly Bill for this killing was ultimately dismissed by a court when the Justice determined the shooting was accidental, the newspaper accounts of the incident published throughout the territory gave him instant notoriety as a man-killer. Upon his release from the Pima County Jail in Tucson, Curly Bill wreaked havoc in the small communities of Charleston and Contention City. Rumors of "grave outrages," like making people dance at gunpoint and shooting out gaslights, spread throughout the territory. Curly Bill was perceived by the public to be a leader of a band of desperadoes. His supposed death at the hands of Wyatt Earp on March 24, 1882, based on claims made by Wyatt Earp himself, was disputed at the time and continues even to this day to a hotly debated topic among old west enthusiasts.

This is the story of Curly Bill - Tombstone's most famous outlaw.

Your host is Steve Gatto, author of "The Real Wyatt Earp" (Edited by Neil Carmony) (2000), "Johnny Ringo" (2002), "Curly Bill, Tombstone's Most Famous Outlaw" (2003). Steve's latest work, "Hurled Into Eternity, The Story of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" has not yet been released.

"Curly Bill . . . is viewed with terror in Cochise County. His escapades and outrages have been numberless. There is nothing he dare not do and everyone is afraid of him. . . ." National Police Gazette