“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cheyenne in Laramie County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)


Bandits and Brigands of the Wild West

Outlaws! Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Wintermantel, October 6, 2016
1. Outlaws! Marker
Inscription.  During the early days of Wyoming Territory and State, outlaws flourished in the lawless frontier. From cattle rustling to stagecoach robbing to bank heists to holding up trains, individuals and gangs of thugs found Wyoming a land of plenty: plenty of riches to steal and plenty of places to hide.

Aided by the Land
Wyoming's rugged terrain provided perfect conditions for outlaws. Highwaymen and train robbers could ride 100 miles or so to their getaways long before posses could form. Cattle rustlers sometimes herded stolen cattle into deep caverns or narrow valleys where they could defend their position. Places like Outlaw Cave and Hole in the Wall Pass sheltered outlaws from 1860 to 1910, including the famous Hole in the Wall Gang with members like Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Kid Curry, Black Jack Ketchum, and Elzy Lay. A handful of cabins, livery stable, corral, and stashes of supplies could accommodate several gangs, at times as many as 150 outlaws.

Fast Getaways
Rustlers who stole from large ranching operations run by businessmen in Europe and back East became outlaw heroes among smaller cattle
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ranchers. Sympathetic locals and friends sometimes helped the brigands, or at least turned a blind eye. Motivated by large rewards, sometimes $5,000 or more, other residents cooperated in order to pay off mortgages-but the outlaws usually outran posses and vigilantes. The "Wild Bunch, led by Leroy Parker, aka Butch Cassidy, eluded capture by planting horses along getaway routes so they could ride fresh horses while their pursuers fell behind on tired steeds.

Escape Artists
Wyoming Frontier Prison in Rawlins (known as Old Pen), Wyoming Territorial Prison in Laramie (now a state historic site), and local jails held many infamous criminals with equally infamous prison breaks. "Gentleman Bandit” Bill Carlisle escaped the Old Pen after hiding in a carton used to ship the shirts prisoners made. Four men cut a rail at Crook County Jail, then sandbagged the jailer with a homemade sack and lump of coal. One-fourth of the prisoners at the Wyoming Territorial Prison escaped during its first two years. The first major breakout happened in 1874 when two prisoners overtook the guard, freed six more prisoners, then rode stolen horses into the Laramie countryside.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Law Enforcement. A significant historical year for this entry is 1860.
Location. 41° 3.512′ N, 104° 52.795′ W.
Outlaws! Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Wintermantel, October 6, 2016
2. Outlaws! Marker
Marker is in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in Laramie County. Located inside the Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center off of I-25. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5611 High Plains Road, Cheyenne WY 82007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Yellowstone Highway (within shouting distance of this marker); Wyoming’s Wildlife Heritage (within shouting distance of this marker); Trails & Tales of I-25 (within shouting distance of this marker); Magic City of the Plains (within shouting distance of this marker); The Greeting and The Gift (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cheyenne Corner Stone (approx. 4.8 miles away); Camp Carlin (approx. 5.7 miles away); Cheyenne's Early Fire Companies (approx. 5.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cheyenne.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 19, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 19, 2021, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 255 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 19, 2021, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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May. 27, 2024