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Buckley, Dandy Jim


Professional gambler, confidence man and grafter.[1] Born November 30, 1837, died May 2, 1932.[2]


Very little is known of Dandy Jim's personal background. He spoke with a Harvard accent but given his many deceptions, this may have been an affectation to give the impression of more sophisticated origins. He often crossed paths with Bret and Bart Maverick, who (when it suited them) considered him a friend. But as the Mavericks extended their trust with Buckley only so far, Buckley knew he could always count on the Mavericks' general honesty and took full advantage of it whenever he could.


Buckley had no misgivings in conning the Mavericks out of anything and leaving them to fend for themselves in the most dire situations. He was a constant nuisance for them, but they sometimes seemed to enjoy the professional competition, usually (but not always) winning out over Buckley in the end.[1]


Trail West to Fury: Traveling together with Bret and Bart Maverick[3] in August of 1871,[2] he was hoping to go to Texas. Unknown to Buckley at the time, the Mavericks were wanted for murder in Texas, and would divert any plans involving that destination to anywhere else.[3] As they were in the vicinity of Pueblo,[2] Colorado Territory, they got caught in a torrential flooding[3] of the Arkansas River[2] and took refuge in an abandoned house. As the waters rose about them, they passed the time with various wagers and playing cards. After much coercion, Buckley finally got the Mavericks to tell him the story of why they could never go to Texas, and the Tall Man who (if they could ever find him) clear them of murder charges.[3]


Stampede: In March of 1877, Buckley met a man dying of a bullet wound in a dive on Silver Street in Natchez, Mississippi. The man claimed to have been one of two men that robbed the Wells Fargo office in Vermillion, Dakota Territory, of $40,000 in gold dust. The man had been trailed and shot by a Wells Fargo detective. As the man was dying, he expressed concern for the well-being of his female companion. He offered to sell Buckley a map to where he had buried the gold dust near Vermillion. Buckley bought the map for $200 and, after the man died, headed upriver the next day to recover the treasure. The following week, he arrived in St. Louis where he met Tony Cadiz and Coral Stacey, who were on a talent expedition to bring new revenue to Cadiz's Golden Nugget Saloon in Deadwood. Having seen Buckley gambling with thousands of dollars, Coral suggested he partner with her in Deadwood, as he was a proficient card shark and she was an adept dealer in faro and blackjack. But soon, Buckley found he had been swindled by Coral and Cadiz of $7,000, which sorely delayed the continuance of his journey to Vermillion. Buckley scraped along for a few weeks in St. Louis until he bought a fancy holdout device gave him a great advantage at card cheating and he was able to win enough to move on towards Vermillion. Later in April, he finally arrived at Vermillion and succeeded in following the map to the buried gold dust. But he also found that the town of Whiskey Flats had sprung up in the Mountain Meadow of the map and the town's jail had been built directly over the buried gold dust. Realizing he needed help to excavate the treasure, he bought passage aboard the Far West bound for St. Louis, where he intended to enlist the aid of his cousin. Along his trip down the Missouri River, the holdout device he was using developed a squeak. Caught cheating, the riverboat's captain confiscated all of Buckley's ill-won money and marooned him on a sand bar in the middle of the river. That night, Bret Maverick, traveling upriver to Fort Pierre, was thrown overboard from the Dakota Queen and swam ashore to the same sand bar. Happy to find a much more trustworthy partner in Bret than he would have had in his own cousin, Buckley partnered with him. Together they plotted a scheme to recover the stolen gold dust and travel to Deadwood where they could both settle their scores with Cadiz. But in May, on the night of their success in Deadwood, Buckley was caught in his scheme to steal the money they had earned and was sentenced to sixty days in jail.



01. Maverick (1957 – 1962), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

03. Maverick, Trail West to Fury (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

04. Maverick, Stampede (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

Dandy Jim Buckley

Portrayed by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

Dandy Jim Buckley bids adieu to Bret Maverick in the Whiskey Flats jail, April 1877.[4]

While waiting out a flood in the Colorado Territory, Bart and Bret Maverick entertain Dandy Jim Buckley with the story of why they can't ever go back to Texas.[3]

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