5 – Mat Rash

By Museum of Northwest Colorado

This is Ann Bassett’s personal photo of fiancé Mat Rash who was killed by Tom Horn. And below is Ann’s absolutely fascinating confession about her accused rustling.
As mentioned in our last Museum Marvels (#4), “Queen” Ann Bassett was arrested and tried in 1911 after being accused of rustling by the large cattle baron, Ora Haley. Though acquitted, she eventually confessed to her misdeeds.
Ann specifically had it out for Ora Haley and his Two Bar cattle operation for three reasons. First, she felt he used his vast herds and fortune to push around and intimidate the smaller cattle outfits. Second, Ora almost certainly hired legendary gun-for-hire Tom Horn to murder her fiancé Mat Rash and her friend Isam Dart in 1900. Third, Ora Haley was a man.
Later in life, Ann wrote an extremely revealing glimpse into her character and motivation. She also offered-up a nearly full confession.
“Let men brag about their brute strength, yet when they get mired up to the ankles, they invariably SOS the women, exactly as I do, knowing when one’s knees get to wobbling, they can back up against the supporting cast of woman’s strength. For despite several errors, women are still a length ahead in this human race, two years old or over.
“My best friends and guides have always been women, the wives, sisters and mothers of the men who were clamoring to see my shatter-proof hide neatly drying on a corral fence. These noble women – and I salute them – were standing by, giving a hand of helpful encouragement, irradiating wisdom and patience during the staging of those elaborate tournaments where men enjoyed the pastime sport of having me arrested and dragged through the courts for various alleged crimes against the lordly Two-Bar – many of which I was as guilty as hell! They charged to my rescue and went over the top with financial and moral support.”
It doesn’t get much more direct than that!
This photograph of Mat Rash was taken shortly before his death; it is the only known photograph of him. It was donated by Bill Haworth, Ann’s great nephew, in 1993 along with several others of Ann’s personal effects.