Friday, August 31, 2018

The Rose of Cimmaron, Female Outlaw

I'm sure you've heard of Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and Butch Cassidy, but how many female outlaws came you name? Belle Starr might come to mind, but what about Rose Dunn?

Rose Dunn aka the Rose of Cimmaron

Rose Dunn was born in 1879 near Ingalls, in the Oklahoma Territory. Although her family was poor, she received a formal education at a convent in Wichita, Kansas. By the time she was 12, Dunn's two older brothers had become small-time outlaws. They taught her to ride, rope and shoot. Through them, she met George "Bittercreek" Newcomb, when she was just 14 or 15 years of age, and they became romantically involved.

Rose was totally infatuated with Newcomb and began supporting the man's outlaw life. She would make supply runs into town since he couldn't because he was a wanted man. At the time, Newcomb was riding with the Wild Bunch gang led by famous outlaw Bill Doolin.

On September 1, 1893, a posse of U.S. Marshals cornered the Wild Bunch gang in Ingalls in what became known as the Battle of Ingalls, The resulting battle was in an intense shootout. Western legend says that Newcomb was badly wounded, and while he lay in the street, Rose Dunn is alleged to have run from the "Pierce Hotel" to his location with two belts of ammunition and a Winchester rifle. She shot the rifle at the marshals while Newcomb reloaded his revolvers. Newcomb and Rose were lucky to have escaped.

Three deputy marshals were killed during the shootout. Two gang members were wounded but escaped. Another gang member "Arkansas Tom" Jones was wounded and captured by Deputy Marshal Jim Masterson. Rose Dunn hid out with the wounded gang members for at least two months, nursing the men back to health.

By 1895, Newcomb had a $5,000 bounty placed on him, dead or alive. Newcomb and another outlaw began hiding out near Norman, Oklahoma after both had been wounded in another gunbattle with US Marshals. On May 2, 1895, Rose's brothers, now bounty hunters, shot and killed both men as they dismounted in front of the Dunn house to visit Rose. The brothers collected the bounty, believed to have been $5,000 each.

After the killing of "Bittercreek" Newcomb, Rose Dunn was often accused of having set him up by revealing to her brothers the outlaws' whereabouts. She adamantly denied this, and her brothers later defended her, stating that she had no knowledge of their intentions. She was never prosecuted for her involvement with the gang. 

Thanks to her short outlaw life, Rose Dunn rose to western legend status. She later married a local politician named Charles Albert Noble and lived the remainder of her life as a respectable citizen. She died at the age of 76 in Washington.

Four mismatched couples find unexpected romance

in four full-length novels by four best-selling authors

A Wagonload of Trouble
, included in OUT OF THEIR ELEMENT

(Finalist in Heartsong Presents Favorite Novel Award - previously published in Wyoming Weddings)

by Vickie McDonough

A computer geek is completely out of his element in the wilds of Wyoming. While his sister stays home with her sick son, Evan reluctantly accompanies his niece on a two-week wagon train tour with her history class, despite a pressing business deadline. The pretty gal heading up the tour thinks he's a total greenhorn, but he can't help being attracted to the competent woman who seems to have it all together. When the tour is sabotaged, will Evan's unique skills help solve the mystery?


Vickie McDonough is an award-winning author of nearly 50 published books and novellas, with over 1.5 million copies sold. A bestselling author, Vickie grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Her novels include End of the Trail, winner of the OWFI 2013 Booksellers Best Fiction Novel Award. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Gabriel’s Atonement, book 1 in the Land Rush Dreams series, placed second in the 2016 Will Rogers Medallion Award.


  1. Her last name on the tombstone is Fleming? Where did that come from? I guess some girls just like bad boys, huh? Thanks for the info.

    1. Good question! That was not mentioned in the research I found about Rose.

    2. She married her second husband Richard Fleming in 1946 as her first husband died in 1930.

  2. I'm not sure if my message came thru it not my name is Conne Rose Dunn. When I google my name her name comes up everyone. I'm unsure about something's but my grandmother or great grandmother name was Pearl...I believe her to be pearl hart