Lasting about 15 minutes, the fervor of a six-gun and a Boss of the Plains hat standoff on the Town Square for an iconic free flashback of the Old West
At 6 p.m. every day Monday through Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Jackson Hole Playhouse sends their summer dramatists into the streets for a free, fun and family affair.
The Jackson Hole Shootout has been blasting the Town Square for fifty years. The longest running shootout in the country, the novelty of Clover the Killer first brought a rumble to the streets of Jackson in 1957.
The legends say that Clover the Killer was a hardened outlaw who rode into the dusty streets of Jackson ready for a fight with anyone who stepped in his way. He was the meanest, ugliest, no-good, hoss-thief this side of Teton Pass.
Clover the Killer was no match for the Cache Creek Posse, however. The good guys, the ones who protected the women, children, and citizens of Jackson. Every night throughout the summer, starting in June 1956, the Posse would drag Clover the Killer into Town Square in an attempt to hang him. Undoubtedly, Clover never felt the noose tighten around his neck.
Either his thieven' friends would come a ridin' with their six guns and steal Clover right out from underneath the Posse or the rope would break or somethin' would happen. This was the beginning of the Jackson Hole Shootout Gang.
How it all started can be debated.
Whether it was a group of businessmen concocting the idea up at the local Tavern with the story or just one all by himself, one thing is for certain, The Shootout was an immediate success, and remains one–the Jackson Hole Shootout is reportedly the longest continually running gunfight in the United States, having begun in 1957.
The group of businessmen were well known local characters and avid rodeo participants named Walt Spicer, Clover Sturlin and Bill Tanner. Clover was the rodeo clown who started the “Town Posse Show” – which would become the “The Shootout.” Sturlin led the show for many years, delighting tourists and visitors with his creation of the Shootout’s lead character “Clover the Killer.”
Dig into more lore about the Jackson Hole Shootout Gang and read about the modern interpretation of a smoking gun with local author, Alexandra Fuller’s Cowboys and Immigrants: An African Emigre’s Jackson, Wyoming. Fuller explores the Jackson Hole Shootout and other old west traditions of Jackson Hole, Wyoming in National Geographic. Read the story at nationalgeographic.com.
This crowd-drawing historic event is filled with singing, dancing, laughs, and gun fighting as it pays homage to a time gone by but whose legacy lives on at the northeast corner of the Square, the corner of Deloney and Center.
Despite the wild nature that is regularly celebrated in tales of outlaws and Jackson Hole’s reputation at the turn of the century as a hideout for rustlers, the Jackson Valley has mostly been a peaceful place to call home. Original residents were mostly made up of Mormons and an assortment of outlaws each adopting a "live and let live" attitude toward one another as they forged a path into a future.