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Cowboy Shoots Up Padua Dance Hall

"That's the Way They Do it in Montana," His Comment. Crowds Flee.

J.E. Little, a Montana cowboy, "shot up" the dance hall at Padua, near Sauk Centre, Thursday night, and now chants mournful ballads of the plains in a cell in the Stearns county jail.

A devil-may-care son of the west, Little rode into Brooten Thursday afternoon with a load of Montana steers consigned to the South St. Paul stockyards.

The cattle arrived at the proper destination -- but not Little. He developed a healthy thirst while the freight train sped over the arid lands of Dakota, and left the train at Brooten when the thirst became too insistant.

Little proceeded, authorities charge, to get uproariously drunk in true western style, and then inquired as to where a dance would be held Thursday night.

"Got to stamp my dawgs -- got to stamp my de-e-eawgs," he told chance acquaintances in Brooten.

H. O. Olson, of Brooten, offered to take the westerner to Padua, where a dance was to be held, in his automobile.

Once in the dance hall on the second story of the town hall, Little proceeded to show interested Minnesotans how "the Montana capers" is danced. The "step" consisted of a series of western "whoops," an some spirited sprawls. Little bumped against other dancers, and drew a fire of criticism. Young women were annoyed, and refused his invitation for "the next strugle."

"All right, friends," he said with a dramatic gesture. "I'm going out and get a little more poison."

"That's the way we do it in Montana," Little commented, emerging from the building with two smoking pistols in his hands.

Strong arms seized the cowboy, and he was overpowered by angry Paduans They took him to a justice of the peace at Sauk Centre.

"Where are you from?" inquired the court.

"Montana," Little replied.

"What town?"

"Anywhere in Montana. The whole state's my home."

"Three months in the county jail," the court remarked sharply.

Little reached for his hip pockets. Then, with a grin, he found that he had been disarmed.

"You've got the drop on me, stranger," he said dryly. "It's your move."

He was taken to the city jail, and removed to the Stearns county jail Saturday.

"Oh, I'm just a poor cowboy, And I know. I've done wrong --"

This was the burden of his song at the jail today.

From the Belgrade Tribune Feb 21, 1924
Reprinted by the St. Cloud Journal-Press Feb 20, 1974