Some of the cable channels have Destination America. They had a show about the 10 Most Wanted Outlaws in the american west.
Jim Miller was the #1 worse outlaw ever.....huh? The Kid shot his jailer while walking back up an outside staircase? Never saying who shot Hardin or why.... Sam Bass being shot and dying immediately...huh?
I just didn't like the show. Did anyone else see it?
Didn't see the show, but Jim Miller was definitely #1. He had 2 nicknames. 1 was Deacon Jim. He was a devout Methodist, never used tobacco or alcohol, never used profanity, was a devoted husband, went to church every Sunday. Give him an hour or so to prepare & he could preach a Hellfire & brimstone sermon on any subject in the Bible.
His other nickname was Killer Miller. He was a killer for hire. He probably killed over 100 people, but there's no sure tally of his score. He's likely the one who assassinated Pat Garrett. His usual fee was $50--gold or silver, not paper. His favorite weapon was a sawed-off shotgun. He was also a relative--by marriage--of Wes Hardin. His wife was Emanuel 'Manny' Clements, Jr.'s daughter. Manny was Wes's 2nd cousin.
A lynch mob 'jerked him to Jesus' in Oklahoma in 1909. His last words were 'Let 'er rip.'
Sounds like this has the makings of a good movie. It would be a good illustration of the phoniness /hypocrisy of some ostentatious religionists, the like of whom we've had with us from ancient times to the present. Jim Miller would seem to have outdone most, if not all, by his flagrant disregard of the "Thou shalt not murder" commandment, while being otherwise devout.
Miller's illustrious relatives and dramatic end would also add interest.
A good screenwriter might whip up something on Deacon Jim that would make Elmer Gantry look like ... a Sunday school teacher.
The main character in THE SCARLET WORM is loosely based on Killin' Jim Miller. You can find the film on Amazon.com
For some reason Hollywood steers away from the best characters and focuses in on the sensationalized characters from the era and/or candy coats the real story so much that they are not even to be taken serious (Zorro, Okie Dokey Corral, The Legend in the mind of Bill Cody, etc…) Too bad there is a lot of interesting and unique stories out there.
It would be hard to make a movie about 'Deacon Jim' because so little is actually known about his lfe other than his rep & his demise. He was lynched together w/2 others in 1909 in OK after a triple murder. He was acquitted of murder at least 4 times because of the testimony of fellow church-goers to his piety.
Incidentally, Zorro was a purely-fictional character.
Killer Miller, what a contradictory life he led: husband, father, churchgoer, businessman. In today's world he might be classed as a "Serial Killer", one who lived a relatively normal life in public, but was evil to the core inside. It makes one wonder what the do-gooders and apologists of today would have said in his defense. By the way, the title of deacon carried/carries little weight since it could be easily conferred, and carried without proof. What made his career interesting to me was his killing career as a western outlaw extended into the 20th century. He also was known to wear a steel plate under his coat that saved his life on more than one occasion. Perhaps this might have influenced Clint Eastwood's story in "Fistful of Dollars."
Most 'serial killers' are nut-cases. They kill for the fun of it or from some twisted ideas in their heads.
Miller wasn't like that. He was strictly a business man. His business was killing people for money. Except a couple of times with personal enemies, he never killed anyone he wasn't paid to kill. You wanted somebody dead, you went to Jim Miller. You put the requisite fee in his hand--he was always paid in advance--& in the next couple of weeks you'd see the guy's obit. Miller would also have an alibi if he had any reason to think he might be a suspect. Most of his killings were done from ambush with that shotgun. Very seldom did he ever go face-to-face. The steel plate inside his 'preacher coat' wasn't there to keep him from being killed by one of his victims, it was there to keep him from being assassinated in revenge for a killing already done.
Here's a short bit about the iron plate. Without questioning why, it's pretty obvious he wore it -- t' keep from gettin' hisself kilt.
"On April 12,,1894, in Pecos Texas, ..... Sheriff Bud Frazer didn't wait for Miller to go for his shotgun, shooting him and hitting him in the right arm. While Miller was attempting to fire his shotgun with his left hand, he hit a bystander instead. Frazer fired again, hitting Miller in the groin, which finally put him down. Frazer then emptied his six-shooter into Miller's chest. After Miller's friends rushed him to his doctor, his frock coat was removed to reveal the large steel plate that Miller wore underneath, which resisted most of the bullets from Frazer's gun, saving the assassin's life. Miller would recover"
And then ----- Miller brought charges against Frazer, who was later charged with attempted murder. He escaped via a hung jury. Boy, that's quite a testamonial about judges, juries, and justice in the old west. Maybe that's why we all look back on those days with nostalgia: No high-powered lawyers, "Open-Minded" judges, and juries that could be bought with a few bottles of whiskey.
As an aftermath to this story, two years later, after Frazer lost the election and was no longer sheriff, he crossed paths with Miller again. "The feud ended on Sept 13, 1896,.... Frazer was at a gambling table in Toyah, Texas....Miller opened the saloon's swinging doors levelling his shotgun , shooting Frazer, who was dealing, removing most of his head."
Frazer's sister confronted Miller, who threatened to kill her, too. A jury refused to convict Miller, but little was known about that trial.
That this man was a crazed killer is of little doubt. He killed for a myriad of reasons, some for money, many just out of hatred and spite. One thing is sure: for as many times he was shot, it's amazing he lived to the ripe old age of 42. Perhaps it was because they finally caught him in Oklahoma, rather than Texas, that justice finally caught up with Miller. (Any Texans out there who take umbrage to that rash statement? I said it, tongue in cheek, fellas, just to elicit a laugh, not to offend) I doubt that anyone knows his full story, I certainly don't claim to.
Miller had a personal feud with Frazer. He was acquitted of murders both in Texas & in New Mexico--murders he unquestionably committed--when fellow church-goers insisted that a man as pious as Miller obviously was could not possibly have been a murderer.
Miller was not a 'crazed killer.' He was a businessman. His business was killing people for money. He probably killed over a hundred people, but in very few cases they were not people he was paid to kill. In those few cases the killing was nearly always as a result of a personal feud between Miller & the victim. Incidentally, he seems to have gotten his start during the Sutton-Taylor feud in DeWitt County, Texas. When he married Manny Clements' daughter he was brought into the feud on the Taylor side. The Taylors, the Clementses, the Dixons, & the Hardins comprised the Taylor side.
Yes we know that Charley, but many people associate him with this guy.
Joaquin Murrieta (1829–ca. 1853), also called the Mexican or Chilean Robin Hood or the Robin Hood of El Dorado, was a semi-legendary figure in California during the California Gold Rush of the 1850s. He was either an infamous bandit or a Mexican patriot, depending on one's point of view. Murrieta was partly the inspiration for the fictional character of Zorro. His name has, for some political activists, symbolized resistance against Anglo-American economic and cultural domination in California.
I read with interest the descriptions of Jim Miller--Killing Jim, Deacon Jim. On the frontier, without our modern conveniences, someone like Miller could be easily taken for what he pretended to be; there were few avenues for checking or double checking a churchgoers status. In recent years, there was a notorious serial killer in Kansas who was active for alnost thirty years before he was identified. People who knew him were shocked and he is referred to that the BTK killer. In our own area, a notorious serial killer was captured in 1970. One of his victims was a young girl who had disappeared in 1953. He was convicted of six murders, but bragged to the guards at San Quentin that he had killed at least between twenty and thirty children over the years. He committed suicide at the prison. He was a construction contractor, and now any time that one of the projects he worked on is demolished or remodeled, the cold case units make a thorough search of the site.