Weird History
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15 Unsettling Photos of the Wild West

Updated December 18, 2020 13.5k votes 1.6k voters 6.2m views15 items

List RulesVote up the most disturbing photos from the Wild West.

There's already something inherently creepy about many early photographs, so when the subject is the notoriously lawless old American West, the fear factor ticks up a few notches. An unexplored territory with a vibrant cast of characters, the wild West carried unease in every breeze; capturing that aesthetic through the grainy view of late 19th-, early 20th-century photos lends a whole new layer of creepiness to it.

Perhaps the creepiest photos from the old West are the ones that are hard to explain – the scary old photos made scarier by their total lack of context. This kind of disturbing photography, combined with the gruesome photos popular at the time, makes for an unsettling collection that's pretty hard to shake.

  • 5

    Mask And Skin Shoes Of Cattle Rustler "Big Nose" George Parrot

    Photo: Carbon County Museum / Stylianis
    Unsettling image?
  • 6

    Outlaw Rube Burrow, 1890

    Photo: flickr / CC0
    Unsettling image?
  • 7

    Sandstorm Over Midland, Texas, 1894

    Unsettling image?
  • 8

    Memento Mori Of The Dalton Gang, 1892

    Unsettling image?