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Small land-owners in Johnson County felt that cattle barons were stealing their land. Ranchers thought the homesteaders were stealing their cattle.

Things started to go badly when, in 1889, a rancher called A.J. Bothwell wanted land claimed by James Averill, a storeowner that lived with a Canadian prostitute, Ella Watson. She had some cows that had recently been rebranded, and Bothwell accused both of them of rustling. A lynch mob hanged them without trial, in front of their shop.

In 1892, The Wyoming Stock Growers Association hired gunmen and drew up a list of 70 targets. The gunmen mounted a huge vigilante raid into Johnson County, calling themselves "The Regulators". The Union Pacific Railroad kindly laid on a special train for them. The regulators killed two alleged rustlers, but a big posse of locals came out from Buffalo and laid siege to the "invaders" at a ranch called TA.

More locals gathered, including the sheriff of Buffalo, until there were 250 men waiting to kill The Regulators. The Stock Growers Association had influences within the Republican Party and the President, who called out the Army and rescued The Regulators in a bloodless truce. No prosecutions resulted.

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