Around the 1880’s the town of Holbrook, Arizona was a wretched hive of scum and villainy where outlaws and cowboys could indulge their drinking, gambling, whoring, and general rakishness. Needless to say, gun fights were frequent and casual.
Amidst this atmosphere, Terrill’s Cottage Saloon was able to distinguish itself as particularly violent. It was in this grim watering hole in 1886 that a gunfight took place that ended in so much death that the floors were said to be slick with a “bucket of blood.” According to one version of events the shoot out occurred between two rival groups of cowboys, one of which accusing the other of horse thievin’. The other extant version of events describes the classic Wild West scene of a poker game gone wrong. Whichever is the case, a number of rootin-tootin cowpokes were murdered. Just a year later, a tough-as-nails sheriff rolled into Holbrook to bring some justice to the town, but the bar had already changed its name to the “Buckets of Blood Saloon.”
The bar remained well into the 20th century, becoming a touristy hotspot on Route 66. However the road trip culture that was keeping the bar alive eventually died out and the saloon eventually closed its doors. However while the bloody bar is gone, the street on which it stood still bears its morbid name, ensuring that the memory of the Wild West will not die out like so many gunfighters.
Know Before You Go
On I-40, follow the exit for 77 South. You'll see the sign just past the train tracks.