Claude Dallas: the last outlaw?
October 23, 2002 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Claude Dallas: the last outlaw? In 1981, Claude shot two Fish and Game officers who had come to take him to town for being in violation of wildlife laws. Apparently he "lived by the laws of nature; not the laws of man." It took 15 months to finally bring him in and his run from the law inspired a movie. After being sentenced to 30 years in prison, Claude escaped from the Idaho State Penitentiary and inspired a song of his exploits. Was Claude "the last outlaw" or just a murderer? What place do outlaws and renegades have in today's society?
posted by Hall (16 comments total)
outlaws and renegades can be used to scare people into supporting laws that outlaws wouldn't give a damn about! :D
posted by RobbieFal at 7:11 PM on October 23, 2002

"What place do outlaws and renegades have in today's society?"

posted by luckyclone at 7:33 PM on October 23, 2002

Dallas was noted for having sledge hammered a stallion; punched cows in the nose when he lost his temper; knocked out a Labrador retriever

Oh that's nice. He beats up dogs. Bet that part didn't make it into the movie version.

You say "outlaw", I say "Fucked-up criminal piece of low-life trash".
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:34 PM on October 23, 2002

Well, if you want to take what they say as the complete truth, go ahead, but there is as much bias in that "history" which was written by comrads of the dead officers as there is in the glorifying song. You have to find a balance, as I think the truth is rarely polarized.
posted by Hall at 7:37 PM on October 23, 2002

I'm not trying to say he was a good man though. Please don't misread that.
posted by Hall at 7:38 PM on October 23, 2002

Hey, whatever happened to "Ladies Love Outlaws?"
posted by jonmc at 7:47 PM on October 23, 2002

I clearly remember watching the TV movie in the mid-80's. I remember liking it despite the fact that I hated cowboys and their imitators from an early age. There may have been an angle where Claude Dallas was portrayed as less than likeable, but my 12-year-old mind recorded it as a precursor to "The Fugitive" (movie version).
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:53 PM on October 23, 2002

Murderer, plain and simple.
posted by Whistlepig at 8:24 PM on October 23, 2002

last updated January, 2002

My god, the things that people do in this world amaze me. I'm so glad that Metafilter is here to bring me the latest updates on the heinous assholes who surround us. Did you hear about the guy who kilt those sorority chicks in Florida? Or how about that dude in Wisconsin who sphinctorily invaded other dudes then ate 'em all up. He might have inspired other dudes. What a sick world. Next as you know they might make a movie about some kinda twisted mountain man abduction.

Hall, there's a sniper picking people off in the Washington DC area with seeming impunity. Posting untimely links to those wacky mountain types who pop wildlife officials seems a little light right now, don't you agree?
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:21 PM on October 23, 2002

Society doesn't give people much room to escape and not participate. Possibly back in the day (when I don't know) you could choose to exit society and go out on your own. Now people are everywhere and the government controls land and sea, you can't leave effectively leave society because society won't leave you.

I suspect if you ponied up on your survival skills and literature, amassed a few thousand dollars and bought emergency and survival supplies, a skeedoo, some tools, some ammo and few guns you could successfully exit society forever in Northern Canada (hell the government will pay you to go up there if you want). But not everyone can get a few thousand dollars together to earn their societal exit.

I have a limited amount of sympathy for this guy, you still should never murder anyone that's never ok. And the animal abuse I find more offensive than the murder.
posted by abez at 11:08 PM on October 23, 2002

And the animal abuse I find more offensive than the murder.

Almost got ya, but...are you insane man? Animal abuse sucks, but we're talkin' animal abuse of your own species...get a grip.
posted by Wulfgar! at 11:23 PM on October 23, 2002

Ned Kelly, the iron outlaw, is THE Australian folk hero, soon to be made more (hehe) immortal in an upcoming Heath Ledger movie. He was a killer and a thief, but Australia loves him anyway.

Is it just the passage of time that allows us to forget the facts and/or make new ones?
posted by elphTeq at 11:47 PM on October 23, 2002

I've only read about 1/3 of the FWOA "article." From the first paragraph, and even knowing who it's written by, not an unbiased source by any means. There are some broad details that give me second thoughts about this guy, though.

Why did so many people go to his camp? Some friend was there when he shot the officers, and a different guy allegedly warned him and then reported him. If he was really dropping out of society, I don't think he'd want many visitors. And what was he doing messing with fences? I'd want to be way away from anything man-made. They shouldn't have ever found the guy, even if someone came to his camp and made up some lies about him. It sounds to me like he was looking for trouble.

The problem is that someone intending to incarcerate a free man is threating him. The question is whether the government has a God-given right to use force. I don't believe it is wrong to fight a person who is using force against you. It's definitely illegal, but the definition of crime is "anything the legislature defines as a crime," not "anything that is wrong."

I want to learn more about this guy. With some dramatic license, it could be a great story, something like Walking Tall. IF the man was only breaking the "laws of man" and not "asking for it," I may be willing to think of him as a folk hero. I think even the Unabomber has some admirable characteristics, apart from being a complete homicidal maniac.

...BTW, sorry if this double-posts. I refreshed the page after it froze up, and the comment was not posted.
posted by son_of_minya at 12:02 AM on October 24, 2002

I'm originally from Missouri... a hotbed of "mythic outlaws" (think "Jesse James," think "Cole Younger")...

Anyone interested in the folk music reaction to men of this... persuasion should check out the Lomax release "Bad Man Ballads"... a wonderful vintage piece of america (from original field recordings).
posted by cadastral at 2:09 AM on October 24, 2002

elphTeq - I was trying to explain to an english friend recently why Ned Kelly is so dear to the hearts of Australians, but didn't get very far.

My friend - "So, this Ned Kelly, he's kind of like Robin Hood?"

Me - "Yeah, except he stole from anyone he came across and um, kept it...and wore a big metal hat"

My friend - "I see..."

As for I think even the Unabomber has some admirable characteristics, apart from being a complete homicidal maniac - Yeah, apart from that I'm sure he was the kind of guy you'd want your sister to marry!!
posted by backOfYourMind at 3:52 AM on October 24, 2002

hey! data was in the movie!
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:16 AM on October 24, 2002

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