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Hey, guys, it's Mike Rowe, and this is the way I heard it, the only podcast for The Curious Mind with a short attention span, it's episode number 174 and it's called Once Upon a Time in the Wild Wild West. Why? Well, because once upon a time, a couple months ago, at the height of the plague, I found myself at home, along with the rest of the country, flicking around on a Saturday morning looking for something to watch.


When I stumbled across a marathon of Westerns on the Turner Movie Classics Station one after the next classics like Rio Bravo and The Searchers, more modern ones like The Unforgiven.


Totally sucks me in what a great what a great movie The Unforgiven is, but The Searchers also amazing. I hadn't seen that in years. Classic John Wayne, The Shootist, John Wayne's last movie. They played high noon with Gary Cooper.


I mean, it just I didn't watch them all, but the TV was on that channel for most of the weekend. So when I sat down on a Monday to write a new story, showdowns were on my mind, epic confrontations. I wanted to I wanted to write a story that would allow me to capture.


That moment in virtually every movie I had seen over the last 48 hours about, you know, good guys and bad guys coming face to face, cowboys and Indians shootist plying their trade, well, I didn't know what I wanted to write about until I stumbled across the story of Bill King. I'm not giving anything away, but I didn't know who Bill King was. And I'm I'm guessing you don't either. But when you hear what he did. When?


Well, I think it started with an Indian who wandered onto his property and what happened as a result and the classic showdown, the classic confrontation that ensued, I dare say you will never look at another Western the same way brought to you by NetSuite.


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Mike, where was I? Oh yes. Once upon a time. And the Wild, Wild West. The shooting occurred on the property of a man named Bill King, who made his home on the outskirts of a little village like the gunfight at the OK Corral, the King shooting would do much to romanticize the West. And yet we know very little about the men who were shot on that fateful day, including the Indian who entered Bill King's property covered in war paint and looking like trouble.


Bill King could have shot the Indian right then and there. It was his right to do so, and no one in those days would have batted. And I, along with the warpaint and the fearsome countenance, the Indian also wore a headdress filled with eagle feathers, each one representing an act of bravery on the field of battle. But Bill King didn't shoot the Indian that entered his property.


He simply watched him from a safe distance and waited to see what might happen next. Well, he didn't have to wait long. A man called Hodo arrived shortly after the Indian.


Hodo was a laborer who worked in the nearby village and a familiar face to Bill King. So too were the men who followed Hodo, a soldier called Brierly and a man in black called Hughes. Bill King knew all about these men, and so he was not terribly surprised when Hodo Brierly and Hughes surrounded the Indian.


He may have been surprised, however, when the Indian started dancing. Was it a war dance? Bill King didn't know. He'd never seen a war dance before. But whatever you called it, the dancing was accompanied by lots of whooping and hollering, which to Bill King's bemusement, inspired Hodo to follow suit. Brierly was next, followed by Hughes.


And just like that, there were four men on Bill King's property jumping around and whooping it up to beat the band.


This, of course, drew the attention of even more villagers, including that of a cowboy named Jones who showed up with a pistol and a bullwhip.


Jones approached the dancing men, cracking his whip with every other step, the men ignored him. Jones cracked his bullwhip again, this time right over the Indians head.


But the Indian kept right on dancing, and so too did Hodo Brierly and Hughes. So the cowboy called. Jones stopped cracking his bullwhip and joined them. Bill King shook his head. Had this Indian cast some sort of spell over these men? It seems so. They were all dancing and whooping and hollering like men possessed. Who knows? They might very well have danced themselves to death had the officer not arrived when he did. Victor Willis didn't look like a traditional sheriff, though he often dressed as one.


Today, however, he was wearing his dress whites and looking very much like a man in charge. As Victor Willis approached the dancing Indian, the soldier called Brierly raised his hands, while Hughes, the man in black, crouched down as if to pounce, Bill King readied himself. This was the moment the Indian swooped one final time as Hodo ripped open his shirt, at which point Victor Willis donned his admiral's cap and stepped in front of the men.


That's when the cowboy called Jones drew his gun. That is when Bill King started shooting.


And that is the moment things got as good as they would ever get. For the six men who met on that fateful day on the outskirts of a little village where a man called Bill King shot them all. I refer, of course, to the shooting of Randy Jones, Felipe Rose, David Hodo, Alex Brierly, Glenn Hughes and Victor Willis, otherwise known as the Cowboy, the Indian, the construction worker, the soldier, the leather man and the sheriff who sometimes dressed like an admiral, six macho men who made a name for themselves, promoting the virtues of a career in the Navy and the many benefits of a membership at the YMCA.


Six icons of the gay community preserved now for posterity in a photo that perfectly captures their unbridled exuberance at the pinnacle of their popularity, a timeless photo of six friends dancing and weeping and celebrating their fame, taken before anyone knew a plague was on its way to visit their little village, a little village in New York City, where thousands of their most devoted fans would soon succumb to a deadly scourge.


Unlike anything the country had ever seen, fans like Bill King, the fashion photographer who died of AIDS after he shot the Village People for the cover of the Rolling Stone Once Upon a Time in the Wild Wild West Village. Anyway, that's the way I heard it.