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Jump Back in Time Reconstruction (1866-1877)
Photo of High bridge near Buena Vista
Masked robbers could stop old trains like this one right in their tracks and get away with all the cash and valuables

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The First Known Train Robbery in the U.S.
October 6, 1866

One witness to a train robbery in the late 1880s described the experience this way: "I decided to come home Thanksgiving to be with my family at Silver City. I boarded the train at Wilcox. There was a large shipment of gold on the train. Just out of Steins Pass we could see a large bon-fire. One of the train-men remarked, 'Wonder what the big fire is. I hope we don't run into any trouble.' ...Then, as today, curiosity got the best of some of us so we had to find out why the train came to an abrupt stop, and why the bon-fire was put on the track. We found ourselves looking into the barrel of guns."

Private detectives placed onboard trains, along with soldiers and other lawmen were brought in to protect the trains. By the turn of the 20th century, most of the famous train robbers, including Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and the other members of the Wild Bunch gang, had been captured, killed or were no longer operating in the United States.

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