The Biggest Train Robbery Ever In Wyoming History
The Wilcox train robbery near Medicine Bow, Wyoming saw a hit estimated near a $50,000 value - some in gold. That was huge in 1899, and is still the biggest train heist ever in the Cowboy State.
The raid began before dawn June 2, when the bad guys flagged down the first part of a two-section train on the Union Pacific. Two men boarded and ordered the engineer to cross a nearby bridge. As soon as the last car cleared the gorge, the bandits dynamited the bridge, stranding the approaching second train on the other side.
Thieves ordered clerks of the express and mail cars to open their doors. When they refused, the doors were blown with sticks of dynamite, then even more explosives were used to crack open a safe.
The description of the thieves, all masked, convinced authorities that known outlaws had done it. They were looking for men with names like “Flat-nosed” George Currie, and two men who rode with him. Others involved were Harry Longabaugh, aka The Sundance Kid, and more members of a gang led by Robert LeRoy Parker, aka Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch.
The Union Pacific Railroad hired the famed Pinkerton National Detective Agency to find and arrest all involved. Cassidy & Sundance may have sensed their luck was running out. They started toward South America, first to Argentina, where they tried to make it as honest farmers. Let’s just say they didn’t take to that too well.
Wilcox was actually not the most that Cassidy and Sundance ever took from a train. One $70,000 haul was near Folsom, New Mexico. It just wasn't in Wyoming.
One story says the famous duo were killed in a shootout with Bolivian soldiers in 1908, but the truth was never confirmed. There is historical evidence that Sundance returned to the U.S., with a new name - William Long - and settled as a rancher in Utah where he'd die in 1936.
If the story sounds familiar, it's because it was part of a good movie. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" were reborn in 1969. Paul Newman was Butch. Robert Redford was Sundance. It won big at The Oscars.