Outlaw Gangs -
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McCanles Gang - Led by David McCanles (or by some accounts, McCandless), this group of men were allegedly wanted for robbing banks and trains, cattle rustling, murder, and horse theft in the early 1860's. Though
McCanles was known as a local bully in vicinity of Rock Creek Station, Nebraska, the only thing that supports the actuality of the McCanles Gang, was a article that appeared in Harper's Monthly Magazine, entitled Wild Bill, in 1867 (see article Here.) This story alleges that Bill Hickok
single-handedly wiped out ten members of this desperado gang on July 12, 1861.
However, other reports, including one
from the only living witness, David McCanles' 12 year-old son, Monroe, widely disputes this story. The Harper's article was told to a writer by
Wild Bill Hickok, himself, who was known to be quite the exaggerator. Other reports state that only three people were killed in the incident at Rock Creek Station and that it was not "outlaw gang" related. Even today, the accuracy of what has become known as the
McCanles Massacre at Rock Creek Station, Nebraska continues to be debated. More ...
It was here at Rock Creek Station that Wild Bill Hickok
wiped out the McCanles Gang, Kathy Weiser, July, 2006.
This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
McCarty Gang (1892-1893) -
The McCarty Gang was run by
who was one of the first to introduce
Butch Cassidy to the life of banditry.
Tom was married to Teenie
Christanson, sister to
Willard Christianson, aka, Matt Warner.
Somewhere around 1892, Tom, his brother, Bill, and brother-in-law, Matt Warner, held up a bank in Roslyn,
When an angry crowd approached him, he opened fire,
wounding two men. The next year, the McCarty brothers, along with their
nephew, Fred McCarty robbed a bank in Delta,
Colorado, in which,
a killed the cashier, A.T. Blachey. When citizens heard the gunfire, they
rushed the bank and shot and killed Tom's brother, Bill, and his nephew.
Tom McCarty was able to escape and fled to
Montana where he settled down
and worked as a sheepherder. However, around 1900, he was killed in a
gunfight in Bitteroot County.
Red Jack Gang - Led by "Red Jack” Almer, also known as Jack Averill, this gang preyed on Arizona stagecoaches during the early 1880s, particularly along the San Pedro River. Having taking thousands in gold coins, Sheriff Bob Paul organized a strong posse to put an end to Almer’s Gang of robberies. Tracking the gang down one by one, the posse found Almer hiding near Wilcox,
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.
Red Sash Gang, aka: Major Wolcott's "Regulators", (1887-1892) - One of the most feared band of outlaws in the Powder River area of Wyoming, these men were called the Red Sash Gang because of an article of clothing they wore for identification. The gang most often preyed on the the many homesteaders of the area, frequently leaving dead bodies in their wake. One of their most heinous crimes were the murders of Nathan Champion and Nick Rae on April 8, 1892. Though the victims barricaded themselves in a ranch house on the KC Ranch, Major Frank Wolcott, the leader of the gang, led his men on a vicious attack of the pair, leaving both of them dead. This act was the final instigator of the all-out Johnson County War between the cattlemen and the homesteaders in
Wyoming, where the Red Sash Gang took part in some of the bloodiest fighting of the range war. The violence of the "war" was so bad that even Frank Canton, who was also a leader of the "Regulators" and a hardened gunfighter couldn't take it. Ultimately, the U.S. Army had to be brought in to arbitrate the Johnson County War and the Red Sash Gang faded into history.
Rogers Brothers Gang (1890s) - First led
by Bob Rogers, the gang also included his brothers Sam and Jim Rogers, Ralph
Hedrick, and others who terrorized
and Kansas in the 1890's. Robbing stores, post offices and bank in
the gang also rustled cattle and stole horses. Youngest brother, Jim made his
first robbery when he was only 14 years-old at
and later escaped from a jail in southwest
killing his guard in the process. Leader Bob Rogers, who had killed a lawman,
was killed by a posse in Horseshoe Mound on
1895. U.S. Deputy Marshal, Heck Bruner and posse caught up with Sam Rogers and
Ralph Hedrick, who resisted arrest and gunfire erupted. When the smoke cleared,
Hedrick lay dead and Sam Rogers had been shot in the leg. He then lived with his
father as a helpless cripple. The last and youngest of the gang to be captured
was Jim Rogers. The 22 year-old was apprehended by members of the Anti-Horse
Thief Association in May, 1901 and sent to federal prison.
Rufus Buck Gang (1895)
- Led by
Rufus Buck, this Creek Indian gang also included Sam Sampson, Maoma July, and brothers, Lewis and Lucky Davis. All of them had been apprehended on minor offenses and served time in the Fort Smith jail before going on their criminal spree in the summer of 1895. With the desire to become known as the most famous outlaws in the Wild West,
Buck allegedly boasted that "his outfit would make a record that would sweep all the other gangs of the territory into insignificance." Beginning with stockpiling a small cache of weapons in Okmulgee,
Oklahoma, their spree began on July 30, 1895 when they robbed a town grocery store. When U.S. Deputy Marshal Garrett, one of the few black marshals in Indian Territory, responded to the call, the bandits shot him down. On their way from that
murder, they abducted and raped a woman named Mrs. Wilson.
For the next two weeks they began to holdup a number of stores and ranches in
Indian Territory, preying on white and Indian settlers indiscriminately. In one incident an elderly salesman named Callahan, who the gang had just robbed, was offered a chance to escape if he could outrun the gang. When the old man was successful, the brutal teens killed his assistant in frustration. They killed a man named Gus Chambers when he resisted the gang’s theft of horses. They then robbed a stockman, taking his clothing and boots and fired at him as he fled naked. Two days later the gang raped Rosetta Hansen while they held her husband at bay with Winchesters.
They were finally caught up with outside Muskogee, Oklahoma by a combined force of U.S. Deputy Marshals and the Creek Lighthorse police, led by Marshal S. Morton Rutherford on August 10th. The ensuing
gunfight between the lawmen and the outlaws lasted almost a full day, before the teens finally surrendered. Though the Creek wanted to hold the gang for trial, the U.S. marshals prevailed and the
outlaws were taken to Fort Smith, Arkansas to face "Hanging” Judge Isaac Parker.
When they were brought to court later in the year they were convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to die by
Parker. However, the initial verdict was appealed and the execution delayed. However, in the end, their appeal failed and
Parker was given the opportunity to re-sentence them to death. The execution of the five members of the Rufus Buck Gang on July 1, 1896 was the second to last execution to occur at
Fort Smith. The Buck Gang were the only men to die on the gallows in Fort Smith for rape.
Selman's Scouts (1878) -
Led by outlaw/lawman
John Selman, who had recently escaped
Texas, Selman pulled together a number of rough characters to form the "Scouts.”
Unlike the other gangs that operated in the area at the time, such as the
Jesse Evans Gang, John
Kinney Gang and the
Seven Rivers Warriors,
Selman’s Scouts had no pretext of fighting for a cause, such as the Lincoln
County War. They only wanted to take advantage of the current already lawless
state of the county. For two months, during September and October, the gang
members terrorized the county by rustling cattle and horses, killing innocent
men and boys, pillaging businesses and homes, and raping women. Though posses of
Lincoln County citizens pursued the gang, the violence continued until Governor
Lew Wallace issued a proclamation threatening martial law if the lawlessness did
not stop. Selman soon fled back to Texas to find new trouble for himself and the
reign of terror ended.
Seven Rivers Warriors - (1870's) - Made
up mostly of small-time ranchers from the Seven Rivers area of southeastern
this gang of rustlers began their life of crime out of their frustration with
the cattle barons, specifically
John Chisum. The warriors felt that
more than 100,000 head of cattle, ate up most of the grazing land in the area.
In retaliation, several small-ranchers grouped together, forming the Seven
Rivers Warriors and began to steal Chisum's livestock. When
Chisum supported the Tunstall/McSween faction against
Dolan and Murphy in the
Lincoln County War,
the "Warriors" quickly joined up with Dolan-Murphy to oppose Chisum's friends.
Several of the gangs' members were killed in the Lincoln County War
and afterwards they began to turn against each other. Shortly afterwards, the
White Caps, aka: Forty Bandits, Society of Bandits (late 1880's-1893) -
Led by Vicente Silva, a businessman in
the White Caps were a mafia-like organization, who sought through fence-cutting,
arson, and physical assault, to drive settlers from lands that had once been
common pasture. The gang held the area in a virtual stranglehold until October,
1892, when they decided to hang fellow gang member Pat Maes for an infraction.
Several months later, in February, 1893, Silva feared that his brother-in-law
was going to inform on the gang for the lynching of Maes, he ordered him killed
as well. Soon, however, Silva's wife became suspicious and he ordered three
lawmen by the
names of Jose Chavez
y Chavez, Eugenio Alarid and Julian
Trujillo to kill her as well. Though they carried out the order, the three
decided to kill Silva as well and buried him in the
same grave, thus ending the reign of Silva's White Caps. Chavez, Alarid and
Trujillo were eventually arrested for the murder of Maes and sentenced to life in prison.
Smith-Dixon Gang - A Gang of horse thieves and whiskey peddlers