Virginia City was founded in 1859, it was known then as Virginia, Nevada Territory and by 1861, Sam Brown was the worst reprobate the town had ever seen. A large man by any means, standing 6 foot tall, and weighing some 200 lbs. he had long red hair and whiskers & steel blue eyes. Always armed, he wore a very sharp Bowie knife on one hip and a pistol on the other. By his teenage years, he was already incarcerated in San Quentin Penitentiary in San Francisco. Around the age of 30, he drifted into Virginia, Nevada Territory. Apparently one evening after losing at a game of Faro in a Virginia (city) saloon, he pulled out his Bowie knife, carved out the dealers heart, threw it to the floor and with his arms all bloodied and his clothes saturated...he climbed up on the gambling table to sleep off his drunken stupor.... When Sam Brown was sober he was dangerous, when he was drunk, he was deadly. He was killed not soon after.
1860-1912, the law prescribed hanging as the means of carrying out the death sentence in the territory / state of Nevada, however, upon revision of the statutes in 1911, the condemned were allowed a choice between the gallows and the firing squad.