The Badass of the Week.

Ben Thompson


I always make it a rule to let the other fellow fire first.  If a man wants to fight, I argue the question with him and try to show him how foolish it would be.  If he can't be dissuaded, why then the fun begins but I always let him have first crack.  Then when I fire, you see, I have the verdict of self-defence on my side.  I know that he is pretty certain in his hurry, to miss.  I never do.


Ben Thompson was born in Knottingley, Yorkshire, England in 1843 and moved to the frontier town of Austin, Texas while he was still just a wee lad.  As a teenager he worked as a printer for the local newspaper, but like any good honest slacker he eventually quit his job and became a professional gambler, which is a far more hardcore profession.

His first brush with badassitude came when he was 17 years old, when he was just hanging out in New Orleans one day when he saw some jackass Pepe Le Pew French bastard harassing a young babe who obviously wanted nothing to do with him.  Thompson, being the honorable badass that he was, stepped in to aid this damsel in distress from this foppish prick who kept trying to get her to do degrading stuff in exchange for cheap ten-for-a-dollar strands of plastic beads.  He grabbed the dude's arm and was all like, "get your stinking paws off of her, you damn dirty Frenchman!"  Frenchie then whipped out a knife and tried to slash Thompson, but little did he know that Ben Thompson was ALWAYS willing to cross blades with French people.  Thompson whipped out his huge fucking Crocodile Dundee Bowie knife, Michael Jackson's Beat It started playing in the background and the two guys had a straight-up hardcore back-alley knife fight.  It didn't take long before Ben had shivved the fuck out of this guy like Gary Sheffield at a County Correctional Institute.  The Frenchman was dead and Thompson was acquitted of all charges.

In 1860 Thompson returned to Austin and he and his brother Billy enlisted in Captain Edward Burleson's Texas Rangers Battalion.  They spent the next few months riding around like Cordell Walker and James Trivette, hunting down criminals and fighting against Comanche war parties and Mexican guerillas whenever they launched attacks on American settlements.

When the War of Northern Aggression broke out in 1861 Ben enlisted in the Confederate Army, serving as a cavalryman throughout the war.  During his adventures on the Western Front he was wounded in action three times, he killed a Confederate mess Sergeant in a dispute over something ridiculous, and he shot a teamster who was trying to steal an Army mule - probably while yelling something hilariously clever like, "that's the last ass you're ever going to grab!"  He served honorably throughout the war, only taking a couple months off in 1863 so he could go home and get married.

After Appomattox Thompson returned home once again, but as is true with many badasses trouble followed him wherever he went.  One day some jackass whipped out a shotgun and tried to smoke Thompson, but Ben quick-drawed the ever-loving bejeezus out of him, busting three caps in this guy's head.  Thompson was arrested and sentenced to hard labor in a Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

Well this wasn't going to fly with Ben.  He bribed two sergeants to look the other way and then escaped from jail in the middle of the night.  He briefly stopped home to see his family before heading off to Mexico, where he served as a mercenary officer in the army of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico.

Ben fought with the Imperial Army in the civil war that was going down in Mexico at the time, but when Maximilian was arrested and executed by the Mexicans, Ben decided it was time to get the fuck out of town before he faced a similar fate.  He returned home to Austin in 1869 only to hear a rumor that Ben's good-for-nothing cock of a brother-in-law had gotten really drunk one night and beat the shit out of Ben's pregnant sister.  This would prove to be a mistake.



A Colt .45 Peacemaker, Thompson's weapon of choice.


Ben immediately went over to his sister's house and knocked on the door.  When his brother-in-law answered it, Ben jacked him right in the motherfucking face with a huge uppercut.  The brother-in-law hit the deck like a ton of bricks, and then Ben shot the guy in the ribs.  He didn't want to kill the stupid fucker (he wanted to make sure his knocked-up sister would have somebody to help take care of her), but he did want to send a message, and .45 inches of lead to a non-vital organ is how pissed-off badasses make their point.  Thompson was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison, but his sister never had to worry about physical abuse again.

Two years into his sentence, Thompson received a pardon from President Ulysses S. Grant and was released.  He moved his family out to Abilene, Kansas and opened up a watering hole known as the Bull's Head Saloon.  He met with some success, but eventually left town after his business partner was shot and killed in a street fight with Wild Bill Hickok.

Thompson then moved out to Ellsworth, Kansas, where he and his brother Billy got jobs as house gamblers at the Ellsworth Saloon.  Things were going pretty well until one night an unarmed Ben was accosted by two random angry gun-toting motherfuckers.  Billy, who was ripshit drunk at the time, busted in to save the day and started spraying bullets into these goons.  Unfortunately, Billy inadvertently ended up pulling a Bob Marley since one of the "thugs" he blasted was actually the Sheriff of Ellsworth.  The brothers were then arrested by the famous lawman Wyatt Earp, but the charges were eventually dropped because there wasn't conclusive evidence that the Sheriff wasn't actually trying to murder Ben.

With nothing left for him but a bad reputation in Ellsworth, Ben decided to travel around the frontier.  He visited Wichita and Dodge City before moving out to Colorado and meeting up with two men who would become great friends of his:  Legendary Wild West badasses Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday.  Together the three men were contracted by the Santa Fe Railroad and served as hired guns during the Railroad Wars on the frontier.



"It is doubtful if in his time there was another man living who equalled him with a pistol in a life-and-death struggle"

-Bat Masterson

When Ben, Bat, and Doc were finished having crazy adventures and fucking up bitches, Ben moved back to Austin and opened up the Iron Foot Saloon.  He was well-liked and successful, and he even got a part-time gig demonstrating his skill with a six-shooter as part of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, which was pretty much the most badass job you could get back in the day.

One night Ben and some of his buddies were hitting the Cristal at a competing saloon, the Capital Theater.  Well the owner of the Capital had some beef with Thompson so he came over and started some shit.  Ben wasn't anyone to back down from a fight, so he just started talking smack like a DEA agent giving a lecture on Heroin.  The "yo mamma" jokes were flying everywhere.  Eventually the owner got super pissed and whipped out a shotgun but Ben drew his gatt and busted a cap in this motherfucker before he could get a shot off.  A brawl broke out like those ones in bad Western movies where guys get thrown through plate glass windows and hookers hit cowboys over the head with whiskey bottles.  One of the bartenders reached behind the bar and pulled out another shotgun, but Ben dropped that fucker as well.  When all the smoke had died down and the po-po arrived, Ben was arrested and tried for murder but acquitted on grounds of self-defense.

Ben used his reputation as an unstoppable assbeater to get elected the Marshal of Austin in 1880.  During his reign the city saw a dramatic drop in crime as Ben cleaned up the streets like RoboCop.  He was so hardcore that he hardly ever dispatched his deputies, preferring to perform almost all arrests himself.  He even busted the notorious gunman John Ringo when he rolled into town and started shit with everyone.

Despite his success, trouble still seemed to follow Ben around.  One night he got into a fight with the owner of the Vaudeville Variety Theater and killed him in a duel.  He was acquitted of the murder once again, but after this blemish on his record he didn't return to law enforcement.

After his tenure as Marshal, Thompson started to hit the Hennessy pretty hard.  His popularity started to wane because people for some reason didn't like his new favorite pastime, which was getting really drunk and using street signs as target practice in the middle of the night.  One night his deeds finally caught up with him as he went into the Vaudeville Variety Theater for a show and was ambushed and shot to death by friends of the former owner.

Ben Thompson was everything you could possibly want from a Wild West badass.  He worked as a professional gambler, soldier, ranger, mercenary, gunfighter, marshal, and saloon owner.  He met all the big names of the time.  His skill with the pistol was unmatched and his shot was unerring.  He was honorable and well-liked, but quick to take offense and never walked away from a good fight.  He loved punching, shooting, dueling, gambling and whiskey, which were basically like the four major food groups back in the old West.  The man was a badass.  What more could you possibly ask for?




"Thompson wasn't charismatic, he wasn't good looking.  He had thinning hair and a terrible mustache.  And listen:  Billy the Kid.  Jesse James.  Wyatt Earp.  Those are great names.  Ben Thompson?  It just doesn't have that ring to it."

- Mark Kilmurry, producer of "John Wayne Never Slept Here"


Links:

Knottingley.org

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