Meet The Gang
Longevity was not a common trait among the Wild West outlaws and gunslingers. If you delve into the ages for most of these legendary gunfighters and outlaws, you will see, but for the odd exception, that this lifestyle for robbing banks, trains, and stagecoaches did not bode well for enjoying a long life. Most of the notorious outlaws, gunslingers, and Wild West gangs, were short-lived by today’s, or anyone’s standards. The average life expectancy for these outlaws averaged between the late twenties to the mid-thirties.
Sam Bass was born, July 21, 1851, in Mitchell, Indiana, the son of Daniel and Elizabeth Jane (Sheeks) Bass. He was orphaned before his thirteenth birthday and afterward raised by an uncle. Bass left home at age 19. He was a notorious 19th-century American train robber and outlaw, who died as a result of wounds sustained in a gun battle with Texas Rangers. He was part of a gang that robbed a train of $60,000 (equivalent to $1.5 million in 2020).
He eventually drifted west to north Texas where he tried his hand at wrangling cattle. Unfulfilled by the hard work and little pay, he bought a horse and raced it, living off the proceeds for several years. In 1876, Bass and a partner, Joel Collins, formed a cattle drive and drove the cattle to Nebraska, but squandered their (and the ranchers') proceeds by gambling it away in the gold rush town of Deadwood in the Black Hills area.
Now broke, Bass and Collins formed an outlaw gang preying on stagecoaches. The gang literally struck gold when they robbed the Union Pacific Railroad gold train from San Francisco on September 18, 1877. The robbery netted the gang over $90,000, and they split up.
Bass promptly headed back to Texas and formed a new gang responsible for a string of stagecoach robberies. In 1878, the gang held up two stagecoaches and four trains within 25 miles of Dallas, after which, they became the object of a manhunt by Pinkerton National Detective Agency agents and a special company of the Texas Rangers headed by Captain Junius Peak.
Bass was able to elude the Texas Rangers until a member of his gang, Jim Murphy, turned informant. On July 19, 1878, while scouting the area before another robbery, they were noticed by Williamson County Deputy Sheriff A. W. Grimes. When Grimes approached and requested, they surrender their sidearms, he was shot and killed. A gunfight ensued. As Bass attempted to flee, he was shot by Texas Rangers. An interesting note to all of this is the fact that no one in Round Rock, nor any of the visiting Texas Rangers, except Jim Murphy, knew what any of the Bass gang looked like Bass was later found lying in a pasture west of Round Rock by Williamson County Deputy James Milton Tucker. Bass had to call out to the posse as they were about to ride by him, shouting, "Hey I'm over here. I'm Sam Bass, the one you are looking for." He was taken into custody and died the next day on July 21, 1878, his 27th birthday.
Robert Ewing Younger
Robert Ewing Younger, (Bob Younger), born October 1853, was an American criminal and outlaw, the younger brother of Cole, Jim, and John Younger. Along with brothers Cole, Jim, and John, Bob Younger was a member of the James-Younger Gang, a group of outlaws that centered around Frank and Jesse James. For nearly a decade, the gang robbed banks, trains, and stagecoaches across Kansas and Missouri. During an attempted bank robbery at Northfield, Minnesota on September 7, 1876, Bob, Jim, and Cole were captured (John Younger didn't take part). Convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, Bob Younger died behind bars of tuberculosis.
After the war, his brothers formed the James–Younger Gang with Frank and Jesse James. For ten years the gang robbed banks, trains, and stagecoaches across Missouri, Kansas and other nearby states. In September 1876 the gang attempted to rob the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota. The citizens included many Union army veterans who fought back effectively, and in the ensuing shootout, all three of the Younger brothers were wounded and captured. Bob was wounded in the elbow and later in the chest. Two Northfield citizens were killed in the botched raid.
Bob Younger was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died of tuberculosis in prison at Stillwater, Minnesota on September 16, 1889, at the age of 35 years.
Johnny Peters Ringo
Johnny Peters Ringo born, May 3, 1850, better known as Johnny Ringo, was an American Old West outlaw loosely associated with the Cochise County Cowboys in frontier boomtown Tombstone, Arizona Territory. Outlaw Johnny Ringo committed his first murder during a wave of cattle rustling that become known as the Mason County War. During the Mason County war, he committed his first murder.
Ringo was also affiliated with Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan, Ike Clanton, and Frank Stilwell during 1881–1882. He got into a confrontation in Tombstone with Doc Holliday and was suspected by Wyatt Earp of having taken part in the attempted murder of Virgil Earp and the ambush and death of Morgan Earp. He was arrested and charged with murder but escaped from jail shortly before his death. But it was his implication in the attempted murder of Virgil Earp and the ambush and death of Morgan Earp in 1882 that brought him to the attention of law enforcement officers. Shortly afterward, Ringo was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head. He died on July 13, 1882.
Modern writers have advanced various theories attributing his death to Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Frank Leslie, and Michael O'Rourke.
Robert Rennick Dalton
Robert Rennick Dalton, born May 13, 1869, and better known as Bob Dalton, leader of the infamous Dalton Gang. Dalton was an American outlaw in the American Old West. Beginning in 1891, he led the Dalton Gang, whose varying members included three of his brothers, Bob, Grat, Emmett, and Bill, who was the least involved. After the disaster at Coffeyville in 1892, Bill later joined with Bill Doolin to form the Dalton-Doolin Gang, also known as the Wild Bunch.
They were known for robbing banks, stagecoaches, and trains, primarily in Kansas and Oklahoma Territory, quickly attracting the attention and pursuit by lawmen.
Bob and his brothers were deeply concerned with the pressure put upon them by the law. They decided to make one last robbery to earn enough money to leave the country. Their plan was to rob two banks in the same town at the same time to get the money and to also make history for accomplishing something that no other outlaw gang had attempted. Their target was their old hometown of Coffeyville, Kansas.
They tied their horses in an alley across from the banks, and walked across, dividing into two groups before entering the Condon National Bank and First National Bank. Well, known by the townspeople, they were recognized, and an alarm went out. Civilians quickly armed themselves with guns and took positions with law enforcement to defend their town. As the Dalton Gang began their escape, a gun battle erupted that killed gang members and four town residents.
Grat Dalton, Bill Power, and Richard L. "Dick" Broadwell were all killed. Emmett, the lone survivor among the gang, was seriously wounded, receiving 23 gunshot wounds. After he recovered, he stood trial for the bank robberies. He was sentenced to life in prison but was granted a pardon by the governor after 14 years. Bob Dalton also died at Coffeyville on October 5, 1892.
Charles Earl Boles
Charles Earl Boles, born 1829, in Norfolk, England, was better known as "Black Bart," a name he adopted, who was recognized as one of the most notorious stagecoach robbers, holding up at least 28 Wells Fargo stagecoaches across northern California between 1875 and 1883. Often called Charley by his friends, on two occasions, he left poems at the robbery sites, acts that earned him a reputation as a gentleman bandit with a flair for style and sophistication.
On July 26, 1875, Boles robbed his first stagecoach in Calaveras County, California, on the road between Copperopolis and Milton. He spoke with a deep and resonant tone as he politely ordered stage driver John Shine to "throw down the box". As Shine handed over the strongbox, Boles shouted, "If he dares to shoot, give him a solid volley, boys". Seeing rifle barrels pointed at him from the nearby bushes, Shine quickly handed over the strongbox. Shine waited until Boles vanished and then went to recover the empty strongbox, but upon examining the area, he discovered that the "men with rifles" were actually carefully rigged sticks. Black Bart's first robbery netted him $160.
His last holdup took place on November 3, 1883, at the site of his first robbery on Funk Hill, southeast of the present town of Copperopolis, California. When Boles was wounded and forced to flee, he left behind several personal items. These included his eyeglasses, some food, and a handkerchief with a laundry mark F.X.O.7. Wells Fargo Detective James B. Hume found these at the scene. Hume and detective Harry N. Morse contacted every laundry in San Francisco about the laundry mark. After visiting nearly 90 laundries, they finally traced it to Ferguson & Bigg's California Laundry on Bush Street and were able to learn that the handkerchief belonged to a man who lived in a modest boarding house.
Wells Fargo only pressed charges on the final robbery. Boles was convicted and sentenced to six years in San Quentin Prison, but he was released after four years for good behavior, in January 1888. His health had clearly deteriorated due to his time in prison; he had visibly aged, his eyesight was failing, and he had gone deaf in one ear. Reporters swarmed around him when he was released and asked if he was going to rob any more stagecoaches. "No, gentlemen," he replied, smiling, "I'm through with crime."
In February 1888, Boles left the Nevada House and vanished. Hume said Wells Fargo tracked him to the Visalia House hotel in Visalia. The hotel owner said a man answering the description of Boles had checked in and then disappeared. Black Bart was last seen on February 28, 1888.
Sam Starr was born in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory on November 24, 1859 to Thomas Starr and his second wife, Catherine Reese. Sam is found on the 1880 Cherokee census with his parents and nine siblings. Sam Starr was a Horse thief, Outlaw, Gun fighter and Bootlegger. He was a husband of the notorious American outlaw Belle Starr.
Sam and Belle married June 5, 1880, when Sam’s age was listed as 23 and Belle’s age was listed 27, but she could have been 32 years old. Sam was referred to as being friend with the Youngers and the James. Belle's previous husband Jim Reed had been shot by his former friend John Morris, who had been deputized to capture Reed.
Sam and Belle moved near Briartown on communal tribal land. (Sam had 52 acres called Youngers Bend, after the Younger gang. This was near Eufaula, Oklahoma. The newlyweds cleared land and settled into a comfortable cabin at Younger’s Bend, on the Canadian River about 70 miles southwest of Fort Smith, Ark. Many fugitives, including Jesse James, often hid on the property. Sam and Belle formed an outlaw gang, rustling horses and bootlegging whiskey to Indians. The mastermind of this gang was Belle Starr.
Sam and Belle Starr were accused of stealing horses in July of 1882. July 31, 1882, they were charged by a grand jury for larceny in the Indian Territory. Tom Star made bail for the couple. The ‘Hanging Judge’, Isaac C. Parker held the trial in March 1883. He found Belle guilty on two counts, receiving (2) six month terms. Sam Starr was found guilty on one charge and was sentenced to 12 months. They were sent to the House of Correction in Detroit, Michigan. In 1886 Sam Starr was critically wounded after an Indian posse ambushed him. Sam Starr escaped and went to his brother's home. His brother convinced him to turn himself in. Sam Starr surrendered to authorities in October 1886 and was scheduled to stand trial in February 1887. Dec 1886 Sam ran into an enemy, Frank West. Sam Starr was badly wounded and killed in a shootout with his cousin, U.S. Deputy Indian Marshall Frank West. He died December 17, 1886 and was buried in his family's cemetery.
Laura Bullion, born in 1876 was an outlaw of the Old West. Most sources indicate Bullion was born in Knickerbocker, near Mertzon, in Irion County, Texas; the exact day of her birth is unclear. Data in the 1880 and 1900 federal census also suggests a Laura Bullion might have been born in the township of Palarm near Conway in Faulkner County, with others suggesting she was born in Kentucky in 1873.
In the 1890s, Laura Bullion was a member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang; her cohorts were fellow outlaws, including the Sundance Kid, "Black Jack" Ketchum, and Kid Curry. For several years in the 1890s, she was romantically involved with outlaw Ben Kilpatrick ("The Tall Texan"), a bank and train robber and an acquaintance of her father, who had been an outlaw, as well.
On about November 1, 1901, Ben Kilpatrick and Laura Bullion arrived in St. Louis by train, and checked into the Laclede Hotel using the aliases Mr. & Mrs. J.W. Rose. At 11:50 pm on Tuesday, November 5th, Ben Kilpatrick was arrested at Josie Blakey's resort at 2005 Chestnut St. In his pocket, the authorities found a key to a room at the Laclede Hotel. The next morning, they entered the hotel lobby, where Laura Bullion was in the process of checking out with her luggage. In her valise, they discovered $ 8500 in unsigned banknotes taken in the Great Northern train robbery. Laura was subsequently arrested on federal charges for "forgery of signatures to banknotes."
Bullion was later convicted of robbery and sentenced to five years in prison for her role in the Great Northern train robbery. She was released from the Missouri State Penitentiary at Jefferson City, Missouri, on September 19, 1905, after serving three years and 10 months of her punishment.
In 1918, she moved to Memphis, Tennessee, posing as a war widow and using assumed names. She supported herself as a householder, and seamstress, and later as a drapery maker, dressmaker, and interior designer. Her fortunes declined in the late 1940s when she was without work. In 1959, Bullion was listed as living at 278 Cossitt Place. She lived there until her death two years later, on December 2, 1961. She died of heart disease at the Shelby County Hospital in Memphis. Her final resting place is at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Memphis.
Pearl “Taylor” Hart
Pearl “Taylor” Hart was born, in 1871 in the Canadian village of Lindsay, Ontario. At the age of 16, she was enrolled in a boarding school where she became enamored with a young man, named Hart, who has been variously described as a rake, drunkard, and or a gambler. The two of them eloped, but Hart soon discovered that her new husband was abusive and left him to return to her mother.
Hart described this period of her life by saying: "I was only twenty-two years old. I was good-looking, desperate, discouraged, and ready for anything that might come. It is sufficient to say that I went from one city to another until sometime later I arrived in Phoenix". During this time Hart worked as a cook and singer, possibly supplementing her income as a demimondaine (prostitute). There are also reports she developed a fondness for cigars, liquor, and morphine during this time.
A Canadian-born American outlaw, her career as a stagecoach robber was short-lived. The robbery occurred on May 30, 1899, at a watering point near Cane Springs Canyon, about 30 miles southeast of Globe, Arizona. Hart had cut her hair short and dressed in men's clothing. Hart was armed with a .38 revolver while Boot had a Colt .45. One of the last stagecoach routes still operating in the territory, the run had not been robbed in several years and thus the coach did not have a shotgun messenger. The pair stopped the coach and Boot held a gun on the robbery victims while Hart took $431.20 (equivalent to $13,414 in 2020) and two firearms from the passengers.
She drifted into bad company after her abusive husband left her to fight in the Spanish-American War. She and Joe Boot, a gambler, planned a robbery so she could return to her dying mother in Canada, but they were captured and imprisoned. She charmed her way out of prison but was recaptured and served only two years out of five in a male prison. She was pardoned by the governor upon learning that she was pregnant. She died on December 30, 1955.
Jesse Woodson James
Jesse Woodson James was born on September 5, 1847. He was an American outlaw, bank and train robber, and leader of the infamous James–Younger Gang. Raised in the "Little Dixie" area of western Missouri, James and his family maintained strong Southern sympathies. He and his brother Frank James joined pro-Confederate guerrillas known as "bushwhackers" which operated in Missouri and Kansas during the American Civil War. As followers of William Quantrill and "Bloody Bill" Anderson, they were accused of committing atrocities against Union soldiers and civilian abolitionists, including the Centralia Massacre in 1864.
After the war, as members of various gangs of outlaws, Jesse and Frank robbed banks, stagecoaches, and trains across the Midwest, gaining national fame and often popular sympathy despite the brutality of their crimes. The James brothers were most active as members of their own gang from about 1866 until 1876, when as a result of their attempted robbery of a bank in Northfield, Minnesota, several members of the gang were captured or killed. They continued in a life of crime for several years afterward, recruiting new members, but came under increasing pressure from law enforcement seeking to bring them to justice.
Despite popular portrayals of James as an embodiment of Robin Hood, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, this is simply a case of romantic revisionism, as there is absolutely no evidence that he, or any member of his gang shared any of their loot with anyone outside of their network. Scholars and historians characterize James as one of many criminals inspired by the insurgencies of ex-Confederates following the Civil War, rather than as a manifestation of alleged economic justice or frontier lawlessness. James continues to be one of the most famous figures from the era, and his life has been dramatized and memorialized numerous times.
On April 3, 1882, Jesse James was shot and killed by Robert Ford, a new recruit to the gang who hoped to collect a reward on James's head and a promised amnesty for his previous crimes. Already a celebrity in life, James became and remains a legendary figure of the Wild West after his death.
Thomas Edward Ketchum
Thomas Edward Ketchum born, October 31, 1863, was better known as; Black Jack; was an American cowboy who later became an outlaw. He was executed in 1901 for attempted train robbery. The execution by hanging was botched; he was decapitated due to the executioner using a rope that was too long. His last words were reported by the San Francisco Chronicle as: "Good-bye. Please dig my grave very deep. All right; hurry up." A popular postcard was made showing the body. Afterward, his head was sewn back onto the body for viewing, and he was interred at the Clayton Cemetery.
Tom Ketchum was born in San Saba County, Texas. He left Texas in 1890, after committing a crime. He worked as a cowboy in the Pecos River Valley of New Mexico, whereby in 1894, his older brother, Sam Ketchum, had joined him. BlackJack and a group of others, and in 1892 robbed the Santa Fe railroad. BlackJack and his gang would often visit the ranch of Herb Bassett, near Brown's Park, Colorado, who was known to have done business with several outlaws of the day, having supplied them with beef and fresh horses. Herb Bassett was the father of female outlaws Josie Bassett and Ann Bassett, who were girlfriends to several members of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang.
On August 16, 1899, Tom Ketchum, knowing nothing of the prior July 11 hold-up which ended in the death of his brother Sam, single-handedly attempted to rob the same train again at the same place and in the same way that he and Sam and others had robbed it just a few weeks earlier. The train conductor, Frank Harrington, saw Tom approaching, and recognizing him, grabbed a shotgun, and shot Tom in the arm, knocking him off his horse. The train continued, and the next day a posse came out and found Tom beside the tracks, gravely wounded. He was transported to medical facilities at Trinidad, Colorado, and his right arm had to be amputated. He was nursed back to health and then sent to Clayton, New Mexico Territory, for trial and execution. He died on April 26, 1901.
At the trial, Ketchum was convicted and sentenced to death. He was the only person ever hanged in Union County, New Mexico Territory (now Union County, New Mexico). He was also the only person who suffered capital punishment for the offense of "felonious assault upon a railway train" in New Mexico Territory (which did not become a state until 1912). Later, the law was found to be unconstitutional.
Martha Jane Cannary
Martha Jane Cannary was also known as Calamity Jane, was born in Princeton, Missouri, on May 1, 1852, although she sometimes claimed Illinois or Wyoming as her birthplace.
She was the oldest of five siblings. By age 12, her parents had both died, and she had to make a living by any means necessary.
In the days of the Wild West, Calamity Jane became a notorious American frontier woman, sharpshooter, and raconteur.
As unconventional and wild as the territory she roamed, she has become a folk legend. She traveled to South Dakota and met Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood where her legend as a hard-drinking woman was born.
Calamity Jane died on August 1, 1903, at the age of 51.
Frank Stilwell was born in Iowa in 1856. He was an outlaw Cowboy and the leader of the “Stilwell Gang,” who killed at least two men in Cochise County in Southern Arizona, claiming it was in self-defense.
For a short term, he was deputy sheriff of Tombstone, Arizona, Frank had many interests in several mines, a liquor business, and a stagecoach line.
He was also a partner in a Bisbee area saloon with ex-Texas Ranger Pete Spence.
Stilwell was closely involved in the events leading up to and following the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881.
He was also suspected of the murder of Morgan Earp on March 18, 1882.
Two days after Morgan's death, Frank Stilwell was killed by the legendary Deputy U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp on March 20, 1882, in a Tucson train yard.
Frank Stilwell died at the age of 26.
Billy the Kid
Billy the Kid was born Henry McCarty, in New York City in 1859. While his birth year has been confirmed as 1859, the exact date of his birth has been disputed as either September 17 or November 23 of that year.
He was also known as William H. Bonney, an outlaw, and gunfighter of the American Old West. McCarty was orphaned at the age of 15, and his first arrest in 1875 was for stealing food, at the age of 16. Ten days later, he robbed a Chinese laundry and was again arrested, but escaped.
He fled from the New Mexico Territory into neighboring Arizona, making himself both an outlaw and a federal fugitive. After killing a blacksmith in August 1877, became a wanted man in Arizona and returned to New Mexico, where he joined a group of cattle rustlers. McCarty’s notoriety continued to grow. In 1881, Sheriff Pat Garrett captured McCarty who was later convicted of murder and was sentenced to hang. He escaped from jail on April 28, killing two sheriff's deputies in the process and evading capture for more than two months.
Garrett shot and killed McCarty, in Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881. Bill the Kid died at the age of 21 and remains one of the most notorious figures of the Old West.
Robert LeRoy Parker
Robert LeRoy Parker was born in Beaver, Utah on April 13, 1866, and was later became known as Butch Cassidy. He was an American train and bank robber and the leader of a gang of criminal outlaws called “The Wild Bunch” who roamed the Old West. Cassidy was one of ten children and had no formal education. He became a cowboy while in his teens when he met outlaw Mike Cassidy, adopting Cassidy's name after he joined him in rustling cattle in Utah and Colorado. He got the nickname "Butch" after working briefly as a butcher.
Cassidy taught Butch how to shoot so that he was able to hit a playing card dead center at fifty paces, and his draw was much faster than historians later described. Mike Cassidy led a small band of robbers and rustlers but, after he shot a Wyoming rancher, he disappeared, at which time, Butch took over the gang.
Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch members were the last of the old-time western bank and train robbers, a colorful group of outlaws with distinctive personalities and a flair for the flamboyant. Cassidy was no mean-minded desperado, but a fun-loving, easy-going bandit, who preferred to use his brains rather than his six-gun.
The outlaw's macabre humor was evidenced when he robbed the First National Bank of Denver of $20,000 on March 30, 1889. Cassidy had scouted that bank and knew how much money was in its safe. At that time, Cassidy approached the bank president and stated: "Excuse me, sir, but I just overheard a plot to rob this bank."
The bank president trembled, saying: "Lord! How did you learn of this plot?" "I planned it," Cassidy said, pulling his six-gun. "Put up your hands."
Cassidy was backed up in most of his gun play by the fast-drawing Sundance Kid. Both died bloody thousands of miles from the American West that spawned them. Or did they?
Cassidy's gang members included Will "News" Carver, addicted to reading press notices about the gang; Ben Kilpatrick, the towering bandit known as the Tall Texan; and the deadliest of the group, Harvey Logan, who was also known as Kid Curry.
Parker engaged in criminal activity for more than a decade at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, but the pressures of being pursued by law enforcement, notably the Pinkerton detective agency, forced him to flee the country. He fled with his accomplice Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, known as the "Sundance Kid", and Longabaugh's girlfriend Etta Place. The trio traveled first to Argentina and then to Bolivia, where Parker and Longabaugh are believed to have been killed in a shootout with the Bolivian Army on the evening of November 6, 1908.
However, several reports claim that Cassidy survived and escaped, returning to his birthplace of Circleville, Utah, living under an alias and dying in 1929. Another report insists that he moved to Johnnie, Nevada, and lived there until 1937. Still, another tale claims that he survived until 1943 or 1944, dying in either California or Washington. All of these claims, mythical or real, would have delighted the capricious Butch, who once said to Sundance: "If you want to escape, you must confuse everybody! “Parker’s life and death have been extensively dramatized in film, television, and literature, and he remains one of the most well-known icons of the "Wild West" mythos in modern times.
Harry Longabaugh was born in Mont Clare, Pennsylvania, in 1867, the youngest of five children. At age 15, he traveled west in a covered wagon with his cousin George to help settle George's homestead near Cortez, Colorado. While there, he found work as a wrangler at a neighboring ranch, and he learned to buy and breed horses. He left Cortez in 1886 and struck out on his own, drifting north to work on ranches.
In 1887, while traveling across the Three V Ranch near Sundance, Wyoming, he stole a gun, horse, and saddle from a cowboy. He was captured by authorities in Miles City, Montana, and sentenced to 18 months in jail by Judge William L. Maginnis. As a result of his capture in Sundance, Wyoming, he adopted the nickname ‘The Sundance Kid’ during this time in jail. After his release, in 1891, he went back to working as a ranch hand at the Bar U Ranch in the North-West Territories of Canada, one of the largest commercial ranches of the time. He became joint owner of a saloon in the Grand Central Hotel in Calgary, but after quarreling with his partner, he headed back to Montana. There, he took another job with the N Bar N and began rustling cattle and horses in Montana and Canada. Longabaugh was suspected of taking part in a train robbery in 1892 and a bank robbery in 1897 with five other men. He became associated with a group known as the Wild Bunch, which included Robert Leroy Parker, better known as Butch Cassidy. Considered the fastest gunslinger in the gang, Longabaugh, along with the gang conducted all types of robberies, regarded as the longest series of successful robberies in American history. Seen as a non-violent outlaw, many believe he never killed anyone, preferring to resort to fear and negotiations.
After increasing pressure from the Pinkerton Detective Agency, on February 20, 1901, Longabaugh and Cassidy, along with their gang, and his consort Etta Place fled the United States aboard the British ship Herminius for Buenos Aires, Argentina.
On November 3, 1908, a courier was conveying the payroll for the Aramayo Franke y Cia silver mine near San Vicente Canton, Bolivia, where he was ambushed and robbed by two masked American bandits. The bandits proceeded to the mining town of San Vicente, where they stayed in a small boarding house owned by Bonifacio Casasola, a miner. Suspicious of these two men, because Casasola saw the mule they had also bore the brand of the Aramayo Mine, he quickly informed a nearby telegraph officer, who notified the Abaroa cavalry unit stationed nearby. The unit dispatched three soldiers, who also notified the local authorities. On the evening of November 6, the mayor, along with a number of his officials, and the three soldiers all surrounded the house. The bandits then started a gunfight by opening fire, killing one of the soldiers and wounding another. In the early morning, during a break in the gunfight, the police and soldiers heard a man screaming from inside the house. Then they heard a single shot from inside the house, after which the screaming stopped, then minutes later, another shot was fired, after which there was silence. With no more sounds, the soldiers entered the house the next morning and found two dead bodies, both with numerous bullet wounds to the arms and legs. One of the men had a bullet wound in the forehead and the other had a bullet wound in the temple. The police report surmised from the positions of the bodies that one bandit had shot his mortally wounded partner to put him out of his misery, before killing himself with his final bullet soon after. The Police investigation concluded that the two dead men were the bandits who had robbed the Aramayo mines payroll, but the Bolivian authorities could not positively identify them.
The two bodies were buried at the San Vicente cemetery. In 1991, American forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow and his researchers attempted to find the graves, but could not find any remains with DNA matching the living relatives of Parker and Longabaugh.
Some have claimed that one, or both men, survived and returned to the United States. One of these claims had Longabaugh living under the name of William Henry Long in the small town of Duchesne, Utah, who died in 1936. In December 2008, his remains were exhumed and subjected to DNA testing. Anthropologist John McCullough stated Long's remains did not match the DNA which they had gotten "from a distant relative of the Sundance Kid." What happened to the Sundance Kid is a matter of dispute, where it is believed that he was killed in Bolivia, others claim that he came back and changed his name. Either, way, Robert Redford (along with Paul Newman who played Butch Cassidy) played his character in the 1969 movie ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and were immortalized in the annals of the wild west outlaws.
James “Killin’ Jim” Miller
James “Killin’ Jim” Miller was born on October 25, 1866, in Van Buren, Arkansas. His family later moved to Texas. Miller’s parents died when he was young, and he moved in with his grandparents. He was orphaned for a second time when his grandparents were murdered, with Miller himself arrested for the crime, even though he was only eight years old. In the end, he was not charged, and he went to live with his sister and her husband. Later, as a teenager, Miller blasted his sister’s husband in the head with a shotgun after a quarrel. He was handed a life sentence for the murder but escaped justice due to a technicality.
Later, Miller was implicated in another shotgun attack, on Ballinger City lawman Joe Townsend. Following this incident, “Killin’ Jim” spent time traveling and as a saloon owner. He then became a lawman, eventually becoming the marshal of Pecos. In 1894, an ongoing feud between Miller and Pecos sheriff George A. “Bud” Frazer led to Frazer shooting Miller in the arm, groin, and chest – but thanks to a steel plate under his shirt, Miller survived.
“Killin’ Jim” went on to become a Texas Ranger but continued his reputation as a professional assassin. Following the murder of former Deputy US Marshal Allen “Gus” Bobbitt, Miller was hanged. Apparently, he screamed, “Let ‘er rip,” before stepping off the box. This outlaw once claimed that he had killed fifty-one men; other sources say he dispatched with twelve in gunfights. Miller was one of the west's top ten outlaws. He died on April 19, 1909.
William Preston Longley
William Preston Longley was born on October 6, 1851, in Austin County Texas. He grew up on a farm close to Evergreen in Lee County, where he mastered the art of pistol shooting. He was better known as “Wild Bill” Longley and is regarded as one of the most lethal gunfighters of the Old West. He had a notoriously short fuse and killed upon the slightest provocation. In fact, he may even have been what today we would call a psychopath. By his own account, he was instructed from an early age to “believe it was right to kill sassy Negroes,” and by the age of seventeen he had committed his first murder.
This dangerous gunfighter was known to carry two Dance .44 caliber revolvers, but he used a shotgun as well. At the time of his hanging, Longley said that he had killed eight people – although he earlier claimed the figure was thirty-two. Either way, he is “one of the first two-gun fast draw experts.” He died on October 11, 1878.
William Brocius was born around 1845 in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He was a gunman, rustler and an outlaw Cowboy in the Cochise County area of the Arizona Territory during the late 1870s and early 1880s. Better known as “Curly Bill” Brocius, he may well be Arizona’s most famous – or infamous – outlaw. He engaged in multiple gunfights and related incidents, including the accidental shooting of Tombstone town marshal Fred White on October 27, 1880, and the March 8, 1881, killing of a cowboy named Dick Lloyd.
Brocius may have also been mixed up in the March 18, 1882, assassination of Morgan Earp. Whether or not this was the case, what is certain is that Brocius was exceptionally good with a gun. In fact, a contemporary said he was capable of shooting coins from between people’s fingers and could comfortably take down fleeing jackrabbits. He also had the ability to snuff out a candle by firing at it with his pistol. In the end, though, Wyatt Earp killed Brocius during a shootout involving the Earp posse, and several other cowboys in Iron Springs, Arizona. Curly Bill died on March 24, 1882.
William Doolin was born in 1858 in Johnson County, Arkansas to Michael Doolin and the former Artemina Beller. Doolin left home in 1881 to become a cowboy in Indian Territory, where he worked with other cowboys and outlaw names of the day, including George Newcomb (known as "Bitter Creek"), Charley Pierce, Bill Power, Dick Broadwell, Bill "Tulsa Jack" Blake, Dan "Dynamite Dick" Clifton, and the better-known Emmett Dalton.
Doolin was an American bandit outlaw and founder of the Wild Bunch, sometimes known as the Doolin-Dalton Gang. Like the earlier Dalton Gang alone, it specialized in robbing banks, trains, and stagecoaches in Arkansas, Kansas, Indiana, and Oklahoma during the 1890s. Doolin's first encounter with the law came on July 4, 1891, in Coffeyville in southeastern Kansas. Doolin and some friends were drunk in public, and lawmen attempted to confiscate their alcohol. A shootout ensued, and two of the lawmen were wounded. Doolin escaped capture by fleeing.
On October 5, 1892, the Dalton Gang tried to rob two banks simultaneously in Coffeyville. It was an utter failure. Coffeyville residents and lawmen rallied in a shootout against the outlaws, resulting in four of the five gang members being killed. Emmett Dalton was captured and convicted at trial and imprisoned. Historians have speculated that a sixth gang member was in town, holding the horses in an alley, and escaped. The sixth man has never been identified; however, many speculate that he may have been Bill Doolin.
On November 1, 1892, the gang robbed a bank in Spearville, Kansas. After the robbery, the gang fled with gang member Oliver Yantis to Oklahoma Territory, where they hid out at the house of Yantis's sister. Less than a month later, the gang was tracked to that location. In a shootout, Yantis was killed, but the rest of the gang escaped.
On September 1, 1893, 14 deputy U.S. marshals entered Ingalls to apprehend the gang. The armed confrontation became known as the Battle of Ingalls. During the shootout, three marshals and two bystanders were killed, one bystander was wounded, three of the gang members were wounded, and gang member "Arkansas Tom Jones" was wounded and captured. Doolin shot and killed Deputy Marshal Richard Speed during that shootout.
For a time, the Wild Bunch was the most powerful outlaw group in the Old West. Because of the relentless pursuit by the deputy marshals known as the Three Guardsmen (lawmen Bill Tilghman, Chris Madsen, and Heck Thomas), by the end of 1894, they had either captured or killed many of the gang. In late 1894, U.S. marshals killed gang member Bill Dalton. Rewards were offered for the capture or death of remaining gang members, a lure that sometimes-turned friends into foes to collect the money. On May 1, 1895, gang members Charlie Pierce and George "Bittercreek" Newcomb were shot and killed by bounty hunters known as the Dunn brothers. They were the older brothers of Rose Dunn, the teenaged girlfriend of Newcomb. Allegedly, she had betrayed Newcomb, but her brothers may have trailed her to the outlaws' hideout.
Doolin fled to New Mexico Territory, where he hid with outlaw Richard "Little Dick" West during the summer of 1895. In late 1895, Doolin and his wife hid out near Burden, Kansas. They went over the border to visit the resort community of Eureka Springs in northwestern Arkansas. There, Doolin soaked in the sulfur springs in the bathhouses. The waters relieved the rheumatism in his foot that had set in after an earlier gunshot. In early 1896, Doolin was captured in those same bathhouses by deputy marshal Bill Tilghman.
Doolin, once again, escaped from jail on July 5, and took refuge with his wife in Lawson in the Oklahoma Territory. However, on August 24 in 1896, Doolin was killed by a shotgun blast in a confrontation with Deputy U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas. Doolin was 38 years old. Fairly old by outlaw standards.
Bill Doolin is buried next to outlaw Elmer McCurdy, in the Boot Hill section of Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
John Henry "Doc" Holliday
John Henry "Doc" Holliday was born on August 14, 1851. He was an American gunfighter, gambler and if you can believe it, a dentist. Doc was also a huge drinker. He was a close friend and associate of lawman Wyatt Earp, and is best known for his role in the events leading up to, and following the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He developed a reputation as having killed more than a dozen men in various altercations, but modern researchers have concluded that, contrary to popular mythmaking, it’s believed that Doc Holliday killed only three to four men.
At age 21, Holliday earned a degree in dentistry from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. He set up practice in Griffin, Georgia, but soon after was soon diagnosed with tuberculosis, the same disease that had claimed his mother when he was just 15. Hoping the climate in the American Southwest would ease his symptoms, he moved to Arizona where he became a gambler, a reputable profession in Arizona in that day. Over the next few years, he reportedly had several confrontations. He saved Wyatt Earp, a famous lawman and gambler, while in Texas. Afterwards they became friends. In 1879, he joined Earp in Las Vegas, New Mexico and then rode with him to Prescott, Arizona, and later Tombstone. On October 26, 1881, Tombstone city marshal deputized Doc Holliday Virgil Earp. The lawmen attempted to disarm five members of the Cochise County Cowboys near the O.K. Corral on the west side of town, which resulted in the now famous, and legendary shootout, that, lasted only a few minutes.
Following the Tombstone shootout, Wyatt Earp formally deputized Holliday, among others, and as a federal posse, pursued the outlaw Cowboys they believed were responsible. They found Frank Stilwell lying in wait as Virgil boarded a train for California and Wyatt Earp killed him. The local sheriff issued a warrant for the arrest of five members of the federal posse, including Holliday. The federal posse killed three other Cowboys during late March and early April in 1882, before they rode to the New Mexico Territory. Wyatt Earp learned of an extradition request for Holliday and arranged for Colorado Governor Frederick Walker Pitkin to deny Holliday's extradition. Holliday spent the few remaining years of his life in Colorado and died of tuberculosis in his bed at the Hotel Glenwood on November 8, 1887. He was just 36 years old.