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The Pine Street Shootout re-enactment keeps history alive in more ways than one

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – It’s fair to say that Pine Street in downtown Abilene has a story to tell, that of the Wild West in 1884.

Frank Collins, an alderman and his brother Walter, a Taylor County deputy sheriff, were involved in a shootout with Zeno Hemphill 139 years ago where a parking lot now sits at the corner of North 1st Street and Pine Street.

Hemphill had rented a property from the Collins brothers on which he had a saloon. When new laws emerged, the brothers realized they had to shut down the saloon, but all three men were killed when they met face to face.

This story has evolved over the years, a story that is kept alive by re-enactments. Actors Rudy Seals, who plays Frank Collins and Micheal McCormack, who plays Zeno Hemphill, enjoy adding to the story of historical discoveries and sharing this piece of Texas history with others.

“We have to keep the facts the facts. It really happened in Abilene and I think it’s good that we’re doing it,” McCormack said.

They teach and pass on this story, which is historically significant as it was the first time an officer had fallen in the line of duty in the county.

“Not necessarily a good guy versus a bad guy. Just a ‘hey, we’re in a bad spot,’” Seals said. “Oh my God, at first we thought it was about alcohol, then we found out it was about gambling.”

However, there is not much they can do when it comes to replenishment. When that fateful day arrived, they were basically within two or three feet of each other.

“It was a pretty brutal fight originally. We try to back off a bit to save our facial hair,” McCormack explained.

For Seals, this story needs to be told to keep history alive and perhaps the memory of a loved one.

“I inherited this passion from my father. He was on the show for the past two years and he passed away in December,” Seals said. “As long as they allow me to come here, have fun, film, meet people, I will be back.”

Pine Street Shootout reenactments at Frontier Texas begin at noon on the following days:

  • May 20 and 27
  • June 3, 17 and 24
  • 1st of July


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