In fact a lot of people tried to shoot Teddy Roosevelt, and I’m not even counting his military service.
Most of us have probably heard about the time that someone actually did shoot him, and that badass mofo just went ahead with his prepared speech, anyhow:
But that’s not even the best story about Theodore Roosevelt.
My favorite happened decades earlier, in 1884.
Roosevelt had just lost both his wife and his mother, so perhaps he was searching for a bit of solace while riding through the Dakota and Montana Territories.
And when he arrived at a hotel in Mingusville, Montana, it seems that his reputation had preceded him – to all but one obnoxious guest.
Here’s the short version:
I think it’s best if you hear the long version of the story from the man, himself. As published in his autobiography:
It was late in the evening when I reached the place.
I heard one or two shots in the bar-room as I came up, and I disliked going in. But there was nowhere else to go, and it was a cold night.
Inside the room were several men, who, including the bartender, were wearing the kind of smile worn by men who are making believe to like what they don’t like.
A shabby individual in a broad hat with a cocked gun in each hand was walking up and down the floor talking with strident profanity. He had evidently been shooting at the clock, which had two or three holes in its face.
…As soon as he saw me he hailed me as ‘Four Eyes,’ in reference to my spectacles, and said, ‘Four Eyes is going to treat.’
I joined in the laugh and got behind the stove and sat down, thinking to escape notice.
He followed me, however, and though I tried to pass it off as a jest, this merely made him more offensive, and he stood leaning over me, a gun in each hand, using very foul language…
In response to his reiterated command that I should set up the drinks, I said, ‘Well, if I’ve got to, I’ve got to,’ and rose, looking past him.
As I rose, I struck quick and hard with my right just to one side of the point of his jaw, hitting with my left as I straightened out, and then again with my right.
He fired the guns, but I do not know whether this was merely a convulsive action of his hands, or whether he was trying to shoot at me.
When he went down he struck the corner of the bar with his head… if he had moved I was about to drop on my knees; but he was senseless. I took away his guns, and the other people in the room, who were now loud in their denunciation of him, hustled him out and put him in the shed.
I got dinner as soon as possible, sitting in a corner of the dining room away from the windows, and then went upstairs to bed where it was dark, so that there would be no chance of any one shooting at me from the outside.
However, nothing happened.
When my assailant came to, he went down to the station and left on a freight.
So, if you ever accidentally find yourself traveling back in time, and you come across a dude that looks even remotely like a young, or old, or even the ghost of Teddy Roosevelt…
Do not fuck with him.
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