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.
He was a mountain man who lived off the land in the mountains of Wyoming during the years following the Depression. He was arrested for poaching elk because he did not believe in the newly implemented hunting license system. While in jail in Cody, Wyoming, he escaped by taking the sheriff's gun and forcing the sheriff to drive him into the countryside 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.
The prosecutor initially deputized 10 men to form a posse to find and bring Durand in for trial. Durand shot and killed two of the Rangers who were searching for him. 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.
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. He spent several minutes shooting at the windows and walls of the bank. He then took several hostages, one of whom was killed by a citizen trying to take down Durand as they left the bank. Durand was also shot and crawled back into the bank were he shot and killed himself.
The 11 day manhunt was heavily covered by the press, with Durand being nicknamed "Tarzan of the Tetons". The John Wayne B movie Wyoming Outlaw was inspired by the manhunt and appeared in theaters 3 months after Durand's death. Durand was later portrayed by Peter Haskell in a 1974 Hollywood movie The Legend of Earl Durand.
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