The Gunslingers

When Knoxville Was the Wild West

Knoxville’s history is colorful and the predominant hue is blood red. Take a walk on the wild side, from the Old City to Gay Street, down to the river and beyond. The now peaceful streets were once the scene of violence and mayhem of all descriptions—family feuds, duels, lynchings, and riots. Telling all the stories might take years, so this tour varies its route and our guide is always finding fresh tales to share.

  • Old City Outlaws—famous fugitives and hometown homicides left their signatures in lead on Central and Jackson. Kid Curry and Buffalo Bill Cody were just two of the trigger-happy visitors.
  • Gory Gay Street—business as usual while feuding families said it with bullets and affairs of honor were fought in broad daylight. Hear about the famous Mabry/O’Conner shootout, the hushed-up Sneed/Akin incident, and more.
  • Main St. Mayhem—where two or three are gathered, expect trouble, especially near the jailhouse. Mobs overwhelmed the authorities on numerous occasions, whether to provide a hemp necktie for Lee Sellers or liberate cases of whiskey and weapons (plus several convicted felons) for Red Summer.


Proceeds help support The Knoxville History Project
~90 minutes
Meet in the Knoxville Visitor Center – 301 S Gay Street
Reservations required (book tickets below or call 865-309-4522)

– Adults: $15
– Children 6-12: $10
– Group rates available

Contact us about other dates and group tours.
Tours available by appointment for groups as small as four adults.

Call 865-309-4522 to schedule a tou