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Outlaw Gang Lost Loot


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Red Jack Gang Outlaw Loot


"Red Jack” Almer, also known as Jack Averill, led the Red Jack Gang, preying on Arizona stagecoaches during the early 1880s, particularly along the San Pedro River.  On one such occasion the gang held up a stage near Riverside on August 10, 1883. The Wells Fargo guard immediately insisted that the stage was not carrying any gold and when he began to resist the bandits, a female passenger jumped from the stage and called him a liar.


The woman, however, was none other than "Red Jack” Almer disguised as a female. Almer, who had witnessed the gold being placed under a seat, had signaled his men to move on the stagecoach. When the guard went for his gun, Almer pulled one from his long flowing skirts and the next thing you know, the guard laid dead upon the ground. Taking almost $3,000 in currency and gold, the gang fled.


Finally Sheriff Bob Paul organized a strong posse to put an end to Almer's Gang of robberies. 



Stage Coach Robbery, 1911

Stage Coach Robbery, 1911

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Tracking the gang down one by one, the posse found Almer hiding near Willcox, Arizona on October 4, 1883 and in the ensuing gunfight, "Red Jack” was shot down by Sheriff Bob and his posse when he tried to battle his way out.


In their many stagecoach robberies the gang was said to have buried their loot in areas near the Willcox Hideout. Legend has it that about $8,000 in gold coins is buried somewhere in the vicinity of Prescott, Arizona.

Bronco Bill Loses Against Wells Fargo

Broncho Bill"Bronco Bill” Walters might have started out his life as a cowboy and a railroader, but he soon found a more lucrative future as a train and stagecoach robber. At one point he joined Black Jack Ketchum’s gang, and then later formed his own group of bandits, working primarily in New Mexico and Arizona. Credited with shooting several men and committing a number of robberies, he soon was targeted by Wells Fargo as a foe to eliminate.


Having robbed several stagecoaches in eastern Arizona, Wells Fargo had had enough and sent for two no-nonsense lawmen by the names of Jeff Milton and George Scarborough. Soon, the two lawmen, along with a posse, caught up with Bronco Bill near the gang’s hideout outside of Solomonville, Arizona.


In the ensuing gunfight, one gang member was killed and Bronco Bill was wounded. However, he lived to stand trial, was convicted of train robbery and sentenced to prison for life. However, he was released in 1917 and moved to Hachita, New Mexico, where he worked as a wrangler for the Diamond A Cattle Company. He was later killed when he fell from a windmill tower he was repairing.


Though one would think that he would have returned to any buried treasure site, there is no evidence that he did and the Wells Fargo loot was never recovered. Legend has it that areas outside of Solomonville, Arizona may yet hold the stolen cache.



© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated July, 2010



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