In August 1878 a Union Pacific train was making its rounds through rural Wyoming, America. The day was warm and the steam train pulled along through the uneventful landscape. Meanwhile George Parrott or Big Nose George as he was also known, was with an outlaw gang, lying in wait by the straight tracks. They were ready to make mischief on a whole new scale. The plan was simple, derail and rob the train.
As a group they loosened a few sections of track and moved them enough to destabilise the train, then they lay in wait. Then some section hands came along, found the damage and repaired it immediately. The train was safe; this was the cause of some disappointment for the gang, and they aborted the robbery.
The section hands immediately reported the tampered track to the authorities and two men set out to investigate the track tampering and lay down the law. These men were Sheriff Robert Widdowfield and Special Railroad Detective, Harry ‘Tip’ Vincent. The gang fled to a temporary camp in the nearby ‘Rattlesnake Canyon’ but the investigators were hot on their tracks and discovered them within days. Upon entering the camp they found recently extinguished embers, they were still hot. The gang was there still laying in wait. Up to twenty shots rang out through the canyon and the two investigators lay dead. Shot by Parrot’s cruel collective.
With two bodies on their hands the group partially buried the bodies and then dispersed. Then the long arm of the law began to extend its grasp. Surveyors near the canyon reported hearing the sounds of gunshots rebounding off the rock faces. Some twenty men were assembled to deal with the case. They rode out and eventually found the canyon encampment but no sign of the gang. What they did find were the bodies of the two men, shot to pieces. Widdowfield’s corpse had 7 bullet holes in the skull alone. The two rapidly decomposing bodies had been loosely covered in dust and gravel the week before. The hunt for the gang was on. A prize of $10,000 was offered for the capture of the group. Very quickly Union Pacific doubled that offer.