Fort Worth’s Last Gunfight
When you think of the Wild West and the center of the cowboying world, you think of Fort Worth, Texas. And no trip to Fort Worth is complete until you make a stop at Cowtown’s most famous saloon, The White Elephant.
The White Elephant Saloon is a historic bar located in the heart of Fort Worth. Established in 1890, it has been a fixture in the city for over a century and has become an iconic destination for locals and tourists alike. Known for its rustic charm, lively atmosphere, and long-standing history, the White Elephant Saloon has earned its place as one of the most beloved and celebrated bars in all of Texas. From cowboys and ranchers to musicians and artists, the bar has welcomed people from all walks of life and continues to be a cherished institution in Fort Worth’s vibrant nightlife.
Once located in Fort Worth’s famous Hell’s Half Acre, The White Elephant Saloon is steeped in Wild West lore and has played a prominent role in some of the most colorful legends of the Old West. And no story is more notorious than that of Fort Worth’s last-ever shootout, which took place between White Elephant owner and notorious gambler Luke Short and Sheriff Long-Haired Jim, also known as the most corrupt man in town. Legend has it that these two gunslingers faced off outside the White Elephant one fateful day. The shootout ended with Short shooting and killing Long-Haired Jim in a dramatic showdown.
The incident made national headlines and cemented Short’s reputation as one of the most feared and respected men in the Wild West. While some accounts suggest that the shooting was a case of self-defense, others paint a more complicated picture, with rumors of corruption, bribery, and political influence swirling around the incident.
Despite the controversy surrounding the shootout, the White Elephant Saloon continued to thrive and remained a beloved gathering place for cowboys, gunslingers, and outlaws for many years to come. Eventually in the 1970’s the White Elephant Saloon moved to the Stockyards, where it still operates today. On weekends, the White Elephant Saloon is the perfect place to listen to incredible live music and dance, all while sipping on an ice-cold beer. Did I mention there’s a chili parlor? That’s right, don’t forget to chow down on a bowl of Texas chili while you immerse yourself in cowboy culture. And don’t forget to tip, lest Fort Worth take up dueling again!
Written by Annie, a local expert guide for Fort Worth Crawling. After living in NYC for three years, this Fort Worth native is excited to return to her roots in Panther City. She enjoys traveling and the great outdoors and is passionate about the arts, community, tacos, and (of course) Texas beer. Join Annie for history and beer on Fort Worth Crawling’s Cowboy Pub Crawl!