[Narrator 1:] He was from Denmark but he became a hero from Oklahoma. He served in the Danish Army at the age of
thirteen. Before he was 20, he joined the French Foreign Legion, served with the U.S. Army during the Indian
Wars. He was one of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders and helped rid Oklahoma Territory of outlaws and lawlessness.
Sound like a movie? Well it's the story of Chris Madsen, an image from Oklahoma's past.
[Narrator 2:]They came to Oklahoma from many nations. Newcomers to a new land, looking for better opportunities,
a chance to begin again and what remains is their heritage. A rich heritage, that has become the Oklahoma image.
[Guitar music plays]
[Narrator 1:] Chris Madsen, born in Denmark, died 93 years later in Guthrie, Oklahoma and in the near century of
his life he saw more excitement, more action, more thrills than fill most history books. Looking back, the life
of a frontier lawmen always seems a little more glamorous than it must have been. It took planning, patience and
savvy and there were times when even the best efforts resulted in limited success.
[Narrator 1:] Such was the case when the infamous Doolin Gang robbed the Rock Island train at Dover. Chris
Madsen was a deputy in El Reno, Oklahoma. When news of the robbery reached Madsen he gathered a posse of twelve
men, loaded them and their horses into a box car and sped to the robbery site.
[Sound of train running down the track]
[Narrator 1:] They picked up the trail left by the outlaws, a trail that led North. After only a few miles, they
saw the outlaw camp and the lone man on guard. The guard saw the posse at the same time; shots rang out.
[Sound of gun shots]
[Narrator 1:] The guard fell dead and the outlaws were roused for the fight. For three hours lawmen and outlaws
dodged for whatever protection they could find.
[Sound of horses whinney]
[Narrator 1:] More shots were heard in the night and in the end, though the lawmen fought fiercely, the bandits
made their getaway.
[Sound of horses and wagons racing away]
[Narrator 1:] But Madsen didn't give up. He continued his search for the Doolins and one by one the gang's men
were cornered and killed. This was but one chapter in Chris Madsen's life but it was one that brought him to the
attention of a film company and, in 1914, Chris played himself in one of the film industries first tributes to
[Dramatic music plays]
[Narrator 1:] The film was The Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws and it recounted the exploits of both Madsen and
his legendary lawman buddy, Bill Tilghman. The movie's plot was loosely structured but the message was clear:
crime doesn't pay. It covered Madsen and Tilghmans' pursuit of the Doolin, Jennings and Starr gangs. The silent
movie was received enthusiastically around the country, adding another chapter to the legendary life of Chris.
[Guitar music plays]
[Narrator 1:] While he was not to become a matinee idol, Chris did become the friend and confidant of some of the
most famous people of his day including, generals and privates, outlaws and lawmen. He served as a hunting guide
for President Chester A. Arthur. He hunted with Teddy Roosevelt and he worked closely with President William
Howard Taft and the Justice Department.
[Narrator 1:] When Chris died at age 93, he saw an Oklahoma much different from the one that brought him from
Denmark. Gone was the wild, wicked frontier town of Guthrie, a town like so many he helped clean up. In its
place was a booming, bustling community, the first capital of the state. It was a peaceful town and when he
thought about that, Chris Madsen could take pride in the part he played to make it that way. He was Denmark's son
but he was one of Oklahoma's best, an image of courage and justice that stands tall today.
[Narrator 2:] This program was produced by the Oklahoma Image Project, funded by the National Endowment for the
Humanities and brought to you as a public service by this station. Oklahoma Image is sponsored by the Oklahoma
Department of Libraries and the Oklahoma Library Association.
Requires one of these for listening: Quicktimewww.apple.com/quicktime/download, Windows Media Player,www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download or Real Playerwww.real.com.
Part of the Oklahoma Image Statewide Humanities Project, promoting Newcomers to a New Land book series and the Oklahoma Image Project.
Copyright of this digital resource, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, 2008. For further information regarding use please consult the Rights and Permissions page, http://www.crossroads.odl.state.ok.us/shell/rights.php or contact the holding institution of the digital resource.
Oklahoma Department of Libraries, 200 N.E. 18th, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105