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Claude Dallas

claude dallas story, claude dallas murderer
Claude Lafayette Dallas, Jr born March 11, 1950 was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of two game wardens in Idaho


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 The incident
  • 3 The trial
  • 4 Prison and afterwards
  • 5 See also
  • 6 Claude Dallas in popular culture
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


Born in Winchester, Virginia, Dallas' father was a dairy farmer When he was young, his family moved from the Shenandoah Valley to Michigan and Claude Dallas spent most of his childhood in Luce County, later moving to rural Morrow County, Ohio, where he learned to trap and hunt game As a boy, Dallas read many books about the old west and dreamed of someday living as the 19th century characters in the books he read He graduated from Mount Gilead High School in 1967, then headed out west, hitchhiking most of the way across the United States, finally landing in Oregon where he earned a living as a ranch hand and trapper Out of contact with his family back east, he was unaware of draft notices mailed to his parents' home ordering him to report for induction into the US military during the Vietnam War When Dallas failed to report for induction into the military on September 17, 1970, the government issued a warrant for his arrest

He was eventually tracked down more than three years later by the FBI and arrested for draft dodging on October 15, 1973, despite the fact that it had already been announced by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird earlier that same year that no further draft orders would be issued effectively ending conscription in the US[1][2] He was transported back to Ohio and released into the custody of his parents At trial, the draft board could not prove that Dallas, who was working as a cowboy on the remote Alvord Ranch, a vast spread in southeastern Oregon, ever knew of the induction letters and the charges were dropped,[3] but the experience led Dallas to deeply distrust the government

Dallas was charged with the murder of two state game wardens in early January 1981 in remote Owyhee County in southwestern Idaho[4] He eluded capture for over fifteen months, until he was found in nearby northern Nevada in April 1982, north of Winnemucca[5][6] Convicted that October and sentenced to 30 years,[7][8][9][10] Dallas escaped from prison on March 30, 1986,[11] and eluded law enforcement officials for nearly a year; he was finally apprehended outside a convenience store in the suburban southern California city of Riverside in March 1987[12][13]

Dallas attracted national media attention after both incidents, becoming a particularly controversial figure in Idaho, Oregon, and Northern Nevada Some within the region regarded him as a folk hero, defying the government by defending his right to live off the land; while others, shocked and disgusted, saw him simply as a cold blooded cop killer[14] After manslaughter convictions in 1982, his prison escape trial ended in acquittal in 1987[13] Dallas served 22 years of a 30-year sentence and was released in February 2005[15]

The incident

In the winter of 1981, Dallas had set up his trapping camp in the remote southwestern corner of Idaho, three miles 5 km from the Nevada border using a "home" address in nearby Paradise Hill, Nevada The Bureau of Land Management had leased the area known as Bull Basin to Don Carlin's 45 Ranch as wintering ground for their cattle Ten days before the murders, Don's son Eddy Carlin had stopped by the camp and checked Dallas out He noted two illegal bobcat hides in Dallas' camp as well as poached deer When Carlin mentioned to Dallas that Idaho Fish and Game would check the area out Dallas had retorted, "I'll be ready for them"

Eddy Carlin's meeting with Dallas had made him uneasy Dallas had advised Carlin that he settled his business with a gun Don and Eddy Carlin of the 45 Ranch had also noted other trappers illegally poaching sage-grouse on the 45's leased land They rode to a nearby Indian reservation to use the telephone and called Conservation Officer Bill Pogue of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, at home and registered a complaint about the sage-grouse poachers on their land, but not Claude Dallas

Pogue and officer Conley Elms responded to the public complaint When they were about to leave the Carlin ranch, Eddy Carlin's wife mentioned the guy at Bull Camp Claude Dallas At that point Eddy advised the officers about Dallas Carlin warned them to be careful and told them that he didn't trust Dallas

Elms and Pogue looked into the sage-grouse poaching first, then approached Dallas regarding the alleged poaching infringements in his camp[citation needed] During his murder trial, Dallas testified that while Elms was inside a tent containing poached bobcats, Pogue drew his weapon, although there was no evidence to support this claim Dallas reacted by shooting Pogue with his own 357 caliber Ruger Security-Six handgun, which he habitually wore concealed When Elms exited the tent, Dallas shot him too

After the initial gunfire, Dallas used his 22 caliber lever action rifle to shoot both officers execution style, once each in the head He then threw Elms' body in a nearby river and, with the reluctant assistance of a friend, Jim Stevens, transported Pogue's body to a distant location, where he hid it in a coyote's den Stevens, who happened to be visiting the trapper's camp that day, witnessed the shootings and saw Dallas shoot Elms and Pogue in the head as they lay on the ground The Ruger Security-Six handgun was recovered by a local Idaho man using a metal detector in December 2008 Dallas fled the scene of the killings and was found after a 15-month manhunt

The trial

Dallas was charged with two counts of first degree murder,[16] but the trial in Caldwell quickly shifted focus to the alleged aggressiveness of one of the victims, Officer Pogue[17] The issue did sway the jury to convict Dallas in October of lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter and of using a firearm in the commission of a crime[7][18] At least one juror cited concern that Dallas was acting in self-defense when he shot Pogue In early 1983, Judge Edward Lodge sentenced Dallas to 30 years,[8][9][10] the maximum for this offense; he lost an appeal to the state supreme court in 1985[19]

Prison and afterwards

Dallas escaped from the state prison east of Kuna on March 30, 1986,[11][20][21] Easter Sunday, and was on the run for almost a year His escape enlarged the legend that he was a nomadic trapper whose life conflicted with the government Dallas was captured in southern California outside a 7-Eleven convenience store in Riverside in March 1987 Following his 1987 trial, he was placed in prisons in Nebraska and New Mexico, and then to a higher security state prison in Kansas in July 1989[22][23]

He completed the final three weeks[24] of his sentence back in Idaho at Orofino in 2005[15] Dallas served 22 years in prison, his sentence was reduced by eight years for good behavior He was released in February 2005, and since then he has been sighted living in Grouse Creek, Utah and in the Alaska wilderness

See also

  • List of fugitives from justice who disappeared

Claude Dallas in popular culture

  • Ian Tyson's 1987 album, Cowboyography, includes a song entitled "Claude Dallas" telling the story of the incident; also recorded by Tom Russell[25]
  • True crime author Jack Olsen described Dallas and the murders in his book Give a Boy a Gun
  • Another book-length treatment of this subject is Outlaw by Jeff Long
  • The 1986 TV movie Manhunt for Claude Dallas is based on Long's book, it stars Matt Salinger as Dallas, Claude Akins as Bill Pogue and Brent Spiner as Jim Stevens[26]
  • City Confidential episode 45 2001 is an hour-long documentary on the homicide
  • FBI: The Untold Stories episode "Claude Dallas" 1992 is a half-hour-long docudrama about the murders Dallas is portrayed by actor Joe Unger
  • Wild Game 1995 by Frank Bergon presents a fictionalized account of these events
  • The FBI Files episode "Murdering Cowboy" chronicled the murder and the subsequent events
  • Featured in Cort Conley's book pp 201–262 published in 1994 titled Idaho Loners: Hermits, Solitaries, and Individualists


  1. ^ "Military draft system stopped" The Bulletin Bend, Oregon UPI January 27, 1973 p 1mw-parser-output citecitationmw-parser-output citation qmw-parser-output id-lock-free a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-free amw-parser-output id-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output id-lock-registration a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-registration amw-parser-output id-lock-subscription a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-subscription amw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registrationmw-parser-output cs1-subscription span,mw-parser-output cs1-registration spanmw-parser-output cs1-ws-icon amw-parser-output codecs1-codemw-parser-output cs1-hidden-errormw-parser-output cs1-visible-errormw-parser-output cs1-maintmw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registration,mw-parser-output cs1-formatmw-parser-output cs1-kern-left,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-leftmw-parser-output cs1-kern-right,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-right
  2. ^ "Military draft ended by Laird" The Times-News Hendersonville, North Carolina Associated Press January 27, 1973 p 1
  3. ^ http://thebluerevieworg/claude-dallas-myth-comes-life/
  4. ^ "Two wildlife officers gunned down in Idaho" Eugene Register-Guard Oregon Associated Press January 8, 1981 p 3F
  5. ^ "FBI, deputies grab suspect in game wardens' slayings" Spokane Chronicle Washington Associated Press April 19, 1982 p 2
  6. ^ "Dallas spends quiet day in jail" Lewiston Morning Tribune Idaho Associated Press April 26, 1982 p 8C
  7. ^ a b Kennedy, John October 21, 1982 "Dallas convicted of manslaughter" Lewiston Morning Tribune Idaho Associated Press p 1A
  8. ^ a b Kennedy, John January 5, 1983 "Dallas sentenced" Lewiston Morning Tribune Idaho Associated Press p 1A
  9. ^ a b Christensen, Steven January 5, 1983 "Dallas handed prison term of up to 30 years" The Bulletin Bend, Oregon UPI p A8
  10. ^ a b "Judge hands Dallas 30-year term" Spokesman-Review Spokane, Washington Associated Press January 5, 1983 p 1
  11. ^ a b Sher, Jeff April 1, 1986 "Dallas escapes; woman denies assisting him" Spokesman-Review Spokane, Washington p A1
  12. ^ "Claude Dallas recaptured in California" Idahonian Moscow Associated Press March 9, 1987 p 1
  13. ^ a b "Jury acquits escapee Dallas" The Bulletin Bend, Oregon UPI September 6, 1987 p A-3
  14. ^ Mudd, Sheldon November 19, 2013 "Outlaw of the Owyhee: How Claude Dallas Became America's Last Western Folk Hero" The Nevada Review 5 2: 41–61
  15. ^ a b Johnson, David January 25, 2005 "Convicted killer Claude Dallas will be released next month" Lewiston Tribune Idaho p 1A
  16. ^ "Dallas pleads innocent; trial set Sept 7" Lewiston Morning Tribune Idaho Associated Press May 18, 1982 p 1B
  17. ^ Kennedy, John September 21, 1982 "Claude Dallas to testify he acted in self defense" Lewiston Morning Tribune Idaho Associated Press p 1B
  18. ^ Robert F Jones 1986 "An Angry Rebel's Paradise Lost" People 26 12 Retrieved 2010-06-13
  19. ^ Kenyon, Quane November 21, 1985 "Claude Dallas Jr's appeal rejected" Spokesman-Review Spokane, Washington Associated Press p A6
  20. ^ Sher, Jeff April 1, 1986 "Dallas escapes; woman denies assisting him" Spokesman-Review Spokane, Washington p A1
  21. ^ Harris, Scott; Taylor, Ronald B April 2, 1986 "Mountain man's escape not surprising to many" The Bulletin Bend, Oregon {Los Angeles Times p A-6
  22. ^ "Killer Claude Dallas moved to prison facility in Kansas" Spokesman-Review Spokane, Washington Associated Press July 19, 1989 p B3
  23. ^ Warbis, Mark January 21, 1991 "Time, distance have not calmed Dallas controversy" Deseret News Salt Lake City, Utah Associated Press p D5
  24. ^ "Claude Dallas, who killed 2 officers in '81, to be freed" Spokesman-Review Spokane, Washington Associated Press January 24, 2005 p A6
  25. ^ Youtube recording of the Russell version
  26. ^ IMDB's entry for the made-for-TV movie: "Manhunt for Claude Dallas 1986

External links

  • Amazoncom's entry for Jeff Long's book on the incident
  • Amazoncom's entry for Jack Olsen's book on the incident
  • Another account of the incident from the Federal Wildlife Officer's Association
  • Lyrics to Tom Russell's 1986 song about Claude Dallas
  • Internet Movie Database's entry for the made-for-TV movie, "Manhunt for Claude Dallas 1986

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