Outlaw Gangs

John Kinney at Left

John Kinney at Left

John Kinney Gang (1870’s-1883) – Also known as the Rio Grande Posse, the Kinney Gang were successful cattle rustlers, robbers, and hired gunmen in New Mexico.

Lee Gang (1885) – In the mid-1880s, Cooke County, Texas, on the northern border of the Lone Star State, and the Chickasaw Nation just north in Indian Territory, were plagued by a gang of horse and livestock thieves led by James Lee and his brothers, Tom and Pink.

David McCanles

David McCanles

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 1860s.

McCarty Gang (1892-1893) – The McCarty Gang was run by Tom McCarty, who was one of the first to introduce Butch Cassidy to the life of banditry. The gang robbed banks until several members were killed.

Mes Gang – This bunch of primarily Hispanic outlaws and gunmen, were a rival of the John Kinney Gang, both operating out of New Mexico.

Musgrove Gang (1867-1868) – A gang of horse thieves and cattle rustlers who operated throughout Southern Wyoming and Northern Colorado in the late 1860s.

Oklahombres – See Doolin-Dalton Gang

Henry Plummer Gang – See the Innocents

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.

Reno Gang (1866-1868) – Four of the five Reno Brothers terrorized the state of Indiana for two years before they tracked down and hanged by the Southern Indiana Vigilance Committee in 1868.

Reynolds Gang (1863-1864) – A group of Confederate sympathizers that rampaged the South Park, Colorado area with the intention of raising money for the Confederate government.

Rogers Brothers Gang (1890s) – The Rogers Brothers Gang, led by Bob Rogers, terrorized Oklahoma and Kansas in the 1890s. The gang was involved in stealing horses, rustling cattle and robbing stores, post offices, banks, and trains.

Rufus Buck Gang (1895-1896) – A gang of ruthless outlaws who preyed on victims in Oklahoma, five of them were hanged at Fort Smith, Arkansas.

John Selman

John Selman

Selman’s Scouts (1878) – An outlaw gang in Lincoln County, New Mexico led by John Selman. For two months, during September and October 1878, the gang members terrorized the county by rustling cattle and horses, killing innocent men and boys, pillaging businesses and homes, and raping women.

Seven Rivers Warriors – (1870s) – Made up mostly of small-time ranchers from the Seven Rivers area of southeastern Lincoln County, New Mexico. supported the Tunstall/McSween faction against that of Dolan and Murphy in the Lincoln County War of New Mexico.

Silva Gang

Silva Gang

Silva’s White Caps, aka: Forty Bandits, Society of Bandits (1879-1893) – Silva’s White Caps were a vicious outlaw gang that operated in Las VegasNew Mexico from about 1879 to 1893. They were a mafia-like organization that were led by led by Vicente Silva.

Smith-Dixon Gang – A Gang of horse thieves and whiskey peddlers operating in Indian Territory (Oklahoma), its members included Dave Smith, a former member of the Belle Starr Gang; his brother-in-law, Leander “Lee” Dixon; and a man teenager of about 17 years-old named William “Billy” Towerly.

Soapy Smith Gang (1879-1898) – Led by Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith, the gang operated in Denver and Creede, Colorado before moving on to Skagway, Alaska, running a number of con games against unsuspecting citizens.

Stockton Gang (1878-1881) – Led by Ike Stockton, this gang of cattle rustlers terrorized the area of northern New Mexico while posing as “gentleman cowboys” in Durango, Colorado.

Waldo-Sailors Diggings, Oregon in the 1890s

Waldo-Sailors Diggings, Oregon in the 1890s

Triskitt Gang – Known for having conducted several robberies and killings in Northern California, the gang killed 18 people in Sailor’s Diggings, Oregon and stole $75,000 in gold.

Vasquez Gang (1860s-1875) – Led by Tiburcio Vasquez, the gang committed armed robbery and rustled horses and cattle up and down central and southern California for years.

Bill Whitley or Brack Cornett Gang (1887-1888) – Comprised of about 12 outlaws, the gang was led by Texas desperadoes Bill Whitley and Brack Cornett, robbing Texas banks and trains in the late 1880s.

Wild Bunch (1896-1901) – Led by Butch Cassidy, the Wild Bunch terrorized the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada for five years.

Wolcott’s Regulators (1892) – One of the most feared bands of gunfighters and outlaws in Wyoming were Wolcott’s Regulators, who preyed on homesteaders in 1892, frequently leaving dead bodies in their wake.


”I wasn’t the leader of any gang. I was for Billy all the time.”
— Billy the Kid to a Las Vegas reporter after his capture at Stinking Springs.


Regulators surrendering at the TA Ranch

Wolcott’s Regulators surrendering at the TA Ranch in Wyoming

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated September 2019.

Also See:

Frontier Outlaws

The Old West

Old West Scoundrels


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