13 Creepy, Unsettling Photos That Show The Dark Side of the Wild West

There’s already something inherently creepy about early photography, so when the subject is the violent old American West, the fear factor ticks up a few notches. A largely lawless, unexplored territory with a vibrant cast of criminals, the carried unease in every breeze; capturing that aesthetic through the grainy view of late nineteenth-, early twentieth-century photos lends a whole new layer of creepiness to it.

Perhaps the creepiest photos from the old West are the ones that are hard to explain — the scary old photos made scarier by their total lack of context. This kind of disturbing photography, combined with the gruesome death photos popular at the time, makes for an unsettling collection that’s pretty hard to shake.