Museum Minute: A Bounty Hunter

Nov 21, 2019

1887 Frontier Revolver.
Credit Cody Firearms Museum

Tom Tobin was a mountain man and bounty hunter in the late 1800s in Southern Colorado. He is most known for killing the Espinosa outlaws. The Espinosas were tormenting the San Luis Valley in Colorado by allegedly killing more than 30 people. The brothers were killing these men as retaliation for relatives killed during the Mexican-American War. Ashley Hlebinsky, the curator of the Cody Firearms Museum, said the U.S. Army asked Tobin to capture the Espinosa brothers.

“According to the story, he snuck out of camp in the middle of the night, and he went and apprehended and killed the Espinosa brothers,” said Hlebinsky.

Folklore says Tobin sneaked up at the Espinosa camp and shot all of them. He cut off their heads and presented them to the Army as proof.

“As a thank you for all the work that he had done for the government, they presented him with this revolver and his name is on the back strap but they misspelled his name,” said Hlebinsky.