Bronco Bill Loses Against Wells Fargo

Broncho Bill

Broncho Bill

“Bronco Bill” Walters might have started his life as a cowboy and a railroader, but he soon found a more lucrative future as a train and stagecoach robber.

William E. Walters, aka Bill Anderson, Billy Brown, Bronco Billy, was born at Fort Sill, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), in 1869. When he grew up, he first worked as a cowboy and later as a section hand on the Santa Fe Railroad. However, as he neared his thirties, he turned gunman and bandit in Arizona, joining the Black Jack Ketchum Gang at one point.

Afterward, he formed his own group of bandits, working primarily in New Mexico and Arizona, and was credited with shooting several men and committing several stagecoach robberies. Before long, the Wells Fargo Company had had enough and sent for two no-nonsense lawmen, Jeff Milton and George Scarborough, to go after Broncho Bill and his gang.

Walter’s luck was about to run out when he and his gang attempted to rob a train at Grants Station, New Mexico. At that time, lawmen drove them off with heavy gunfire, and a posse led by Jeff Milton soon tracked down Walters. Catching up with two gang members near their hideout outside of Solomonville, Arizona, a gunfight ensued, during which one gang member was killed, and Bronco Bill was wounded.

Train Robbery

Train Robbery

Walters 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 killed when he fell from a windmill tower he was repairing on June 16, 1921.

Though one would think 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 Solomonville, Arizona, may hold the stolen cache.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated November 2022.

Also See:

Lost Treasure Tales

Outlaw Gangs

Outlaws Across America

Outlaws & Scoundrels Photo Gallery