Weird History
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15 Unsettling Photos of the Wild West

Updated December 18, 2020 17.1k votes 2k 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.

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