Guided by a pair of Kentuckians, four blindfolded investors rode south from Rawlins toward the Colorado border in June 1872. Their objective, they thought, was a vast, secret field of diamonds, but they lost nearly all the money they’d put in and the swindlers got away—for a time.
Outlaws & Crime
Browse Articles about Outlaws & Crime
|Averell, Jim, newspaper reporting of the lynching of||Tom Rea|
|Big Nose George||Lori Van Pelt|
|Carlisle, Bill||Lori Van Pelt|
|Cassidy, Butch in Wyoming||Mac Blewer|
|Cattle Kate, newspaper reporting of the lynching of||Tom Rea|
|Cokeville Elementary School Bombing||Jessica Clark|
|Cokeville survivor oral history, Carol Petersen||Wyoming State Archives|
|Cokeville survivor oral history, Glenna Walker||Wyoming State Archives|
|Cokeville survivor oral history, Jamie Buckley King||Wyoming State Archives|
Outlaws & Crime
Just before sunset, on Oct. 31, 1903, a sheriff’s posse and a band of Oglala Sioux families from the Pine Ridge Reservation engaged in a brief, sharp gunfight near Lightning Creek, northeast of Douglas, Wyo. Seven people died, and a U.S. Senate investigation followed.
Patriotic feelings soared in Wyoming during the years of the Great War, bringing generosity toward the people of war-torn Europe and the soldiers who fought. Pacifists, however, and people of German heritage often suffered the scorn of fervent fellow citizens.
From Union Army soldier to teamster to Guernsey, Wyo., town father, John “Posey” Ryan earned a reputation as an honorable man. But his life’s path took a wrong turn when, believing they had stolen his livelihood, he publicly shot his wife and her daughter to death.
In May 1950, Louise Spinner Graf served as foreman of a jury in Green River, Wyo.—practically the first Wyoming jury to include women since 1871. The jury convicted Otto Long of second-degree murder. Afterward, Long’s attorney blamed the outcome on “those damn women.” Women have served successfully on Wyoming juries ever since.
In May 1950, Louise Spinner Graf served as foreman on the first Wyoming jury, with one minor exception, to include women since 1871. Born in Green River, Wyo., she attended university and worked in local banks. After marrying George Graf in 1930, she quit working to raise their daughter, and remained active in the community the rest of her life.
The onset of Prohibition in 1919 not only didn’t stop drinking in Wyoming, it added new layers of lawlessness—bribery, corruption, murder. Enforcement officials had to battle crime in their own ranks, too. One high-profile federal case charged corruption at all levels in Casper, but the jury refused to convict.
In August 1922, five U.S. Marines “invaded” the U.S. Naval Petroleum Reserve at Teapot Dome in central Wyoming to evict oil drillers the government had determined were there illegally. Bribery connected with acquiring those drilling rights eventually led to the Teapot Dome scandal—one of the worst in U.S. politics.