Matt Warner played for both teams in his lifetime. He was Butch Cassidy’s first gunslinger partner, before the Sundance Kid ever joined up with the Outlaw gang. Matt Warner had the misfortune or maybe the good fortune to get caught and did time in the Utah State Prison for robbery. After he was released from prison the City of Price Utah hired him to be the Town Marshall, a position that he held until his death in the late 1930’s. My father as a young man met Matt Warner in Price, and thought that he was a nice, fair man. My father was about 15 or 16 and had ridden into Price on a train to find work. It was the Depression, and no work to be had, but Matt Warner rather than arresting my father arranged for a ride back to his house with the mail delivery.
My Father also knew well the other participant in the story that I wanted to relate in this blog. His name was Charles Lee, and at one time he had been a Marshall in Wayne County, Utah. In fact, he was a Marshall during the hey day of Butch Cassidy’s outlaw gang. At the time he was a young man with a family, and this story comes from Charles Lee as he told it to my father.
Before Matt Warner was arrested and sent to prison, Charles Lee was riding between settlements, he had heard that some of the Outlaw Gang members were in the area, Near the town of Cainesville, Utah at the edge of the Factory Butte, Charles Lee rode up on Matt Warner as he was breaking camp. He was getting ready to saddle his horse to ride away. Charles Lee had the drop on him and said to Matt Warner, that he was going to have to arrest him. Matt Warner looked at him and said to him, “Brother Lee, you have a nice young family, it would be a shame to widow your wife and orphan your children.” Charles Lee responded, “Matt, I am the law and I got the drop on you.” Matt Warner then said, “let me show you something. I want you to take those two empty food cans from my supper and toss them in the air.” Charles Lee replied, “that he had the drop on him and only a fool would lower their gun in this situation.” Matt Warner then said, “Brother Lee, I won’t shoot you, in fact, when you toss the cans in the air pick your rifle back up and cover me with it.”
Charles Lee very hesitantly obliged, and tossed the two cans in the air one with each hand, so that they were both in the air at the same time. Matt Warner wore a double rig holster, so he could draw and shoot two pistols at the same time. He calmly drew each of his pistols and shot each of the cans 5 times before they hit the ground. He then holstered his guns and turned to Charles Lee who by this time had picked his rifle back up and was aiming it at Matt Warner. Matt Warner then said, “Brother Lee, I only shot 5 shots out of each of these guns, do you really want to try to take me in?” Charles Lee responded, ” I guess that I was mistaken, I didn’t see you at all today Matt.” He then rode away. Believing that discretion was the better part of valor that day.