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Thomas Coover…by Joey

Painting of thomas coover shooting john bozeman from

Painting of thomas coover shooting john bozeman from

It is almost like this guy didn’t exist.  I searched through a lot of websites to find this information (Wikipedia, MT Historical Society, the Pioneer Museum’s website, etc.) until I found a little website ( that turned out not to be so little.  The article I found was about John Bozeman, but it had some information on Thomas Cover (Coover?).

One day (April 17), two men set out (John Bozeman and Thomas Cover (Coover?)), headed for Fort C.S. Smith.  There are two stories as to what happened.  Little did they know that one of them would be murdered.


Thomas Cover (Coover?)’s story:

They were about to leave from camp when some friendly-looking Crow Indians came by.  They tried to talk, but it was confusing.  They were about to leave when one of them shot John Bozeman in the back and killed him.  The other one shot at Cover (Coover) and grazed his shoulder.  They took their horses and raced off.  Cover (Coover) walked back into town to get medical help and to tell the story.  He later suspected that the Blackfeet killed John Bozeman, not the Crow.


Another story:

Some people think Thomas Cove (Coover?) killed John Bozeman, not the Blackfeet.  Why would he do that, you ask?  Well, he knew that when there was no more gold in Virginia City, the town of Bozeman would die.  If everyone were afraid of Indians because they’d shot John Bozeman, then they’d want a town for safety.  In a way, if this story is true, he was a hero for shooting John Bozeman.  He made it so the town of Bozeman would survive.


Which story is true?  You decide for yourself.  Thanks for listening.

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