Stolen Loot at the Truckee River, Nevada

Virginia City, Nevada, 1866

Virginia City, Nevada, 1866

It wasn’t just gold and silver miners who flooded Nevada in the late 1800s in search of their fortunes. Nevada, like other states of the Wild West, attracted its share of outlaws and bandits. One such man, named Andrew Jackson “Jack” Davis, led a gang of thieves involved in robbing stage stops, bullion wagons, and trains in Western Nevada.

First arriving in the area in 1859, Davis led two different lives. To the outside world, he looked like a legitimate businessman when he set up a livery stable in Gold Hill. However, in his “spare” time, Davis and his gang took to the bandit road, taking gold and bullion from any source they could find.

Davis built a small bullion mill in Six Mile Canyon east of Virginia City, Nevada and melted down his stolen gold, selling it as legitimate gold bars. He then buried his proceeds so people would not notice or catch on to how wealthy he really was.

Railroad along the Truckee River.

Railroad along the Truckee River.

On November 4, 1870, the gang robbed the express car of the Central Pacific Railroad near Verdi, Nevada taking some $40,000 in gold coins and bullion. Pursued by lawmen, they were said to have buried the stolen cache along the north bank of the Truckee River, between Reno and Laughton’s Hot Springs west of town, near the site of the long-abandoned River Inn.

The entire gang was apprehended and all were sent to the Nevada State Prison, but would not tell where they had hidden their stolen loot.

In 1875, Davis was paroled but two years later, he was shot in the back during a Wells Fargo stagecoach robbery near Warm Springs, Nevada. If Davis ever returned for his cache is unknown, but many believe it is still hidden in Six-Mile Canyon or in the vicinity of the Truckee River. Treasure hunters have long searched these two locations without success.

Another legend abounds that the ghost of Jack Davis protects his treasure in the canyon. Many who have looked for the treasure have been frightened away by the white screaming phantom that is said to sometimes sprout wings and rise into the air.

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated February 2020.

Also See:

Big Jack Davis – Nevada Outlaw

The Comstock Lode

Gold Hill, Nevada

The Ghost of Gold Hill

Nevada Treasures