Trigger Jim Is a Living Legend

| March/April 1992

  • Jim Decker
    Jim Decker at Oscar's on August 22, 1991. Photo by Garth Kidman.
    Garth Kidman
  • Steam tractor

  • Jim Decker
  • Steam tractor

43 E. 600 N 31-6 Hurricane, Utah 84737

Steam tractor which pulled ore wagons to Delco, Idaho from the Macintosh mine, 1941. Jim Decker, seated on the engine, was about to go into the service in WWII. Engine now in collection of Oscar Cooke's Dreamland.

'Trigger Jim' is a man that Western Folklore imitates. There is no need for unimaginable tales. His life is filled with the rough-edged vigor so often given fictitious American heroes, and he is real!

Trigger Jim is one of the last two remaining buckaroos of the Utah Construction Company, a Latter Day Saints-owned ranch that broke up in 1946. The ranch spanned from Canada to Mexico. With big eyes and a grin, Decker explained that he slept with a rope braided of horse's hairs. 'You see, that rope is sticky. It was proved to me that a rattlesnake would not cross over that rope, so I slept with one out on the range to keep the snakes away.'

Decker earned the name 'Trigger Jim' in World War II. One night he was standing guard and was waiting to be relieved when he was surrounded by Nazi SS troops. (About now you're probably wondering why he is still around.) Trigger had five bandoliere of ammunition. He fended off the attack shooting every round. From then on he shot so much he gained the name of 'Trigger.'

Another history making story was when Trigger, along with the two Munsey brothers, found the infamous Nazi death camp Dachau. Here the men discovered 42 box cars of murdered prisoners.


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