Earl Durand

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Walter Earl Durand (1913–1939) was an American from Wyoming who became known as an outlaw after he escaped from jail and killed a number of officers who tried to apprehend him during an 11 day manhunt in the Teton mountains of Wyoming.

His parents were farmers from Powell, Wyoming where he grew up.[1]

He was a mountain man who lived off the land in the mountains of Wyoming during the years following the Depression.[2] He was arrested for poaching elk because he did not believe in the newly implemented hunting license system.[2] While in jail in Cody, Wyoming, he escaped by taking the sheriff's gun and forcing the sheriff to drive him into the countryside[3] before he returned to his home. At his home, he shot and killed two officers who came to bring him back to jail and then he armed himself and headed into the wilderness.[1][4]

The prosecutor initially deputized 10 men to form a posse to find and bring Durand in for trial.[1] Durand shot and killed two of the Rangers who were searching for him.[1] The manhunt grew to include the FBI, sharp shooters, the Wyoming National Guard with artillery from Fort Warren, civilians, and an airplane fitted with tear gas and dynamite bombs.[1]

During the manhunt, Durand eluded the pursuers for several days. He car-jacked a vehicle and drove it to Powell where he attempted to rob a bank.[1] He spent several minutes shooting at the windows and walls of the bank.[5] He then took several hostages, one of whom was killed by a citizen trying to take down Durand as they left the bank.[1] Durand was shot by Tip Cox [6] and crawled back into the bank were he killed himself with a shot to the neck.[5]

The 11 day manhunt was heavily covered by the press,[5] with Durand being nicknamed "Tarzan of the Tetons".[1] The John Wayne B movie Wyoming Outlaw was inspired by the manhunt and appeared in theaters 3 months after Durand's death.[3] Durand was later portrayed by Peter Haskell in a 1974 Hollywood movie The Legend of Earl Durand.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Blewer, Mac (2013-04-15). Wyoming's Outlaw Trail. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 101–. ISBN 9781439642061. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Pellegrini, Georgia (2011). Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time. Da Capo Lifelong. pp. 78–. ISBN 9780738214665. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Simmon, Scott (2003-06-30). The Invention of the Western Film: A Cultural History of the Genre's First Half Century. Cambridge University Press. pp. 166–. ISBN 9780521555814. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Johnston, Jeremy M. (2009-07-08). Powell. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 81–. ISBN 9781439638088. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Ron, Franscell,. The Crime Buff's Guide to the Outlaw Rocky Mountains. Globe Pequot. pp. 203–. ISBN 9780762768424. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Metz, Jared. The Last Eleven Days of Earl Durand. High Plains Pr. ISBN 978-0931271731. 
  7. ^ "The Legend of Earl Durand (1974)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 4 May 2014.