Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, “Curly Bill” Brocius, Butch Cassidy and Henry Longabaugh aka The Sundance Kid. These were some of the most notorious and well known outlaws of the wild west but for every well known outlaw there is one of equal crimes but lesser known. The men listed above are known throughout history for their bad reputations, their countless run-ins with the law and their violent crimes. There is however other men and even women who had just as bad as reputations and committed just as unspeakable of crimes as their notorious counterparts. Below I will name several unknown outlaws that history hasn’t necessarily forgotten but doesn’t really polarize as much as the famous ones.
-Black Bart: Real name Charles Earl Boles, Black Part was an English outlaw who was one of the most notorious stage-coach robbers of his time, robbing stage coaches in Oregon and California in the 1870s and 1880's. He was considered a gentlemen because he would leave poems and messages behind after his crime, be polite to people while sticking them up and he would even decline money offered to him during robberies as he would state he only wanted the money of the Wells Fargo stage coaches he was robbing. He served eight years for his crimes and supposedly died in 1888. It is claimed Wells Fargo paid him off to keep him from robbing them but Wells Fargo denied any such claim.
-John King Fisher: While he was a lawman for a very short time, John King Fisher was an outlaw and one of the most violent. Fisher is known for wearing bright colors, uncommon for outlaws who mainly wore dark colors. He was known for his violent streak as he would kill members of his own gang, beat people down and even shoot and kill unarmed people. Fisher was gunned down in 1884 being shot thirteen times after getting into a dispute with a theater owner and known gunslinger.
-Elmer McCurdy: McCurdy was a bank and train robber but not a very good one. He used explosives which usually backfired on him as he never knew how much to use and usually had to flee escaping with no money. McCurdy was killed by police during a train robbery in 1911. McCurdy’s body was mummified and put on display in an Oklahoma funeral home and would become a popular attraction during carnivals and side shows. Coins would be places in his mouth as a gesture to see him. McCurdy’s body would be used for shows and as a prop for more than 60 years until a film crew for the show of “The Six Million Dollar Man” found it was a real body in 1976. He was finally buried in concrete in 1977 so no one would disturb his remains.
-Pearl Hart: After her abusive husband left her to fight in the war, Pearl Hart fell in with the wrong crowd. She and a man she met who was a gambler would go around robbing stage coaches. She was eventually caught but would charm her way out of prison. She would dress in men’s clothing and aside from stealing money would also steal firearms. She was in and out of prison for most her life. She supposedly settled down and opened a store under another name. She is said to have died in 1955 but as late as 1960.
-Belle Starr: Belle Starr aka The Bandit Queen was from a rich family and told to act like a proper girl however she wanted nothing to do with such a lifestyle. She got into a dispute with her family when she married fellow outlaw Jim Reed. She was also associated with the James-Younger gang. She was known for house and horse theft and caught where she spent time with her husband in and out of prison. She was ambushed and murdered in 1889 by an unknown assailant and to this day the case remains unsolved.
These are just a few of some of the most unknown and underrated outlaws of the wild west era. While they may not be as popular or have a catchy name, their crimes leave a mark today as a blemish in our countries history. Some tried to make an honest life for themselves either before or after becoming outlaws but it seems the life always finds them again and they are back to their crime killing ways until it caught up to them and was the reason they ended up dead. Here are a list of some more lesser known outlaws and some of the ones mentioned here.