What do you know about the most badass bounty hunters in history? From Boba Fett in “Star Wars” to the Terminator in, well, “Terminator,” bounty hunters are, without a doubt, totally cool. Unfortunately, all those awesome bounty hunters are just works of fiction, right? After all, no reasonably sane person would risk life and limb chasing after dangerous criminals for a living. Well, as it turns out, not only do real, famous bounty hunters exist, but they’re awesome enough to give any fictional merc a run for their money. Now, whether you find them awe-inspiring or terrifying, here are 15 of the most badass bounty hunters in history that would make even Boba Fett swoon.
Patrick Floyd Garrett, also known as Pat, was an old west lawman and customs agent in New Mexico during the late 19th century. He was appointed Lincoln County Sheriff in 1880 and immediately set his sights on apprehending his old gambling buddy, Billy the Kid.
Kid had a $500 bounty on his head for anyone who could capture him. Pat followed his old friend the Kid for some time, even managing to capture him at one point, before finally confronting him him in 1881 and shooting him through the chest. Although many viewed Pat as a hero, he never received his bounty money as it specified that the Kid be captured alive. Much of the community vilified him for ambushing the Kid in what was seen as an “unfair killing,” and as a result Garrett would lose his re-election as sheriff and eventually move to Texas.
When you picture a bounty hunter, the first image that comes to mind usually isn’t 4’11” and under 100 lbs. That didn’t stop Michelle Gomez, however. Running her own business in Texas, Michelle is what’s known as a “skip tracer,” a kind of specialized bounty hunter who excels in finding extremely hard to locate criminals.
Her job is all digital. Searching the web for the digital signatures, social media presence, and criminal financial records, she tracks it all with a computer, making her able to find targets that nobody else can. Michelle is often compared to those expert computer hackers you see on crime shows except, in this case, she’s the real deal.
When Charlie Siringo got bored of the merchant life, he packed up his life and moved from his home in Caldwell, Kansas to the Windy City itself to find work as a private investigator. He landed a job with Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, where he worked as a detective and bounty hunter for over twenty years.
His cases took him across the Western United States, as far north as Alaska, and as far south as Mexico City, chasing robbers and outlaw gangs. At one point he even infiltrated Butch Cassidy’s notorious Train Robbers Syndicate using a pseudonym and fake identity. Over time, Siringo came to be known as the “Cowboy Detective,” a name owned when he wrote his own biography using the aforementioned nickname as the title.
Balthasar Gérard was a French Catholic and an admirer of King Philip II of Spain. So, when Philip offered a 25,000 crown bounty for anybody willing to assassinate his political enemy, the Dutch revolutionary and Protestant Prince William the Silent, Gérard jumped at the opportunity.
He disguised himself, snuck into William’s congregation, and fired two shots into the prince’s back. Gérard ran, hoping to leap into the moat, but guards captured before he could make it. Four days later, his captors brutally executed him by being quartered, disemboweled alive, and beheaded. Despite his death, King Philip honored his promise and rewarded Gérard’s surviving family with three country estates and noble titles.
Following his kidnapping by an Apache tribe at the age of 12, young Felix Telles spent the rest of his teenage years raised as an Apache warrior. Later in life, he joined the U.S. Army’s Apache Scouts, where he earned the reputation of being an excellent scout and crack shot with a revolver. Eventually, he received the nickname of “Mickey Free” from his fellow soldiers.
Mickey would eventually go on to become a successful bounty hunter, bagging a number of high-bounty criminals. At one point, he trailed the notorious Apache Kid, who had a reward of $15,000 on his head at the time. Whether or not Mickey successfully caught him, however, depends on who you ask.