- QUICK LINKS
- MY ACCOUNT
Remember what they said about not messing with Texas? Well, they were right. In 1919, a Texas rancher named J. Frank Norfleet was cleaned out in a stock market swindle. Like most marks, he rounded up some more money and got himself swindled again. Like most marks, he swore vengeance, but unlike most, he did something about it and did it publicly. He not only got mad--he got even.
He learned the ways of the con man, and became a national legend for outsmarting them. He caught all five of the men who swindled him eventually, using the tricks of the con artist's trade including mastering the psychology of the mark. He also participated in the epic clean-up of Denver's swindling network and the trial of 20 of its most prominent participants. He became a celebrated manhunter, and died in his own bed at the age of 100.
Amy Reading's The Mark Inside: A Perfect Swindle, a Cunning Revenge, and a Small History of the Big Con tells Norfleet's tale and a few others as well. She gives a bit of history of the con, and how the con man of the late 19th and early 20th centuries worked his cons. If you ever saw The Sting, you'll have a hard time putting this one down.