Number Five: The Harry Tracy Pursuit
(June 9-August 6, 1902, ending at Creston, WA.)
This was two-month running gun battle, matching Harry Tracy (actually name Stevens) against most of the law officers in Oregon and Washington.
June 9, 1902, Tracy escaped from Oregon State Penitentiary, killing three corrections officers and three civilians in the process. Subject to a massive manhunt, Tracy evaded the dragnet for a month and then set up an ambush near Bothell, WA, where he killed two more lawmen. Tracy ran, took hostages, and got into a third shootout in which he killed two more posse members. On August 6, he was cornered and shot in the leg near Creston, WA, and took his own life rather than be captured.
Unlike most desperados, Tracy’s preferred tool was a .30/30 lever-action. He may have had something else going for him. A late friend of mine, a Western historian, believed that Tracy was crazy as a s***house rat and, under stress, when a normal person would have made a fatal mistake, he simply enjoyed the situation and instinctively did the right thing.
At left: a clipping from a newspaper article about the pursuit, as well as a mugshot of unknown origin.