Telluride, Colorado


Outlaw Trails


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Telluride Bank Robbery

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The San Miguel Valley Bank Robbery in Telluride, Colorado is often used to mark the beginning of the outlaw era, but of course that is an over simplification.  This was not Robert LeRoy Parker's first theft, however, it was his first bank robbery. It sealed his commitment to the outlaw way of life and put him on the outlaw trail.  He had committed a gun-point robbery and did it in a town where he was well known.  The loot has been reported as high as $10,500.


Being new to this new vocation, Cassidy was not  in charge.  It was more of an equal partnership between Cassidy, Matt Warner and Tom McCarty. Cassidy was well known in Telluride and did not attract attention by hanging out where he could observe the bank and become familiar with their routines.


Tom McCarty had a ranch near Cortez, Colorado and Matt owned one about 35 miles from Telluride in the Mancos Mountains.  They were making a good living from those ranches although some of it involved rustling, but they were discouraged with how long it was taking.  They wanted some quick cash.


The robbery took place about noon, give or take a couple hours, on June 24th.  The newspaper account reported they took the money and left the bank casually while the teller lay on the floor shivering in fear.  Other stories report they left in a hurry when someone in the street began shouting the bank was being robbed.


In any case, they had quite a ride.  The first stop was at Warner's Ranch, then on to Moab with the posse hot on their trail and lead flying when the distance was not too great.  They rode toward Thompson Springs, then across the Indian country to Browns Hole.  They were chased out of that country and went to Robbers Roost but got bored hanging out there.


After that, they rode back to Browns Hole, then split up. Cassidy may have gone to Lander, Wyoming and the other two went to Star Valley in Idaho.  For a really good account of that action, check you local library for a book called, Last of the Bandit Riders, with stories told by Matt Warner.


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