Wildman of the Wynoochee

History is told through the eyes of the victors.

The legends of the Wild West are no different. Like the notorious outlaw Billy the Kid, who some say got a raw deal.

The Pacific Northwest had its own legendary lawbreaker. John Tornow, also known as the Wildman of the Wynoochee.

He was an expert tracker, an excellent shot and he preferred the wilderness to the company of other people. He lived off the land, shooting elk and trapping frogs that were found just about everywhere in the rainforest of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

In the end, the Wildman was hunted down, accused of murdering six people.

“He was one that would shoot first, then ask questions later,” explained Bill Lindstrom, author of John Tornow: Victim or Villain.

But, was he really the outlaw the homesteaders had grown to fear?

Or was he just a misunderstood recluse defending himself against those who refused to leave him alone?

Leave a Reply