According the experts there should not be less than five men to pull a successful train robbery. One to hold the horses and one on each side of the train to fire at any would-be hero passenger who might interfere. And two men to go into the express car scare the daylights out of the messenger.
Near Canyon Diablo in along the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad in northern Arizona a would be bank robber decided to go it alone. A story is told about an outlaw who robbed the payroll intended for the railroad construction crew building a bridge at the canyon. The outraged workers quickly formed a posse and went in hot pursuit of their money. They finally caught up with the hapless outlaw who had somehow lost his saddlebags containing the payroll during the chase. The area was searched but the money was not found. The posse was more than a little irate at the turn of events and decided to give the perpetrator a suspended sentence from the limb of a nearby tree.
They put the unfortunate rake back on his horse, dropped a noose around his neck and draped the rope over the limb of a tall pine tree. Just as they were about to administer justice, a bolt of lightning struck the tree. Nobody was injured however they were a little shook up and one suggested the lighting might be an ominous omen from the Almighty himself. Could it be some sort of divine intervention?
Quien Sabe, but they weren’t taking any chances. The rode back to Canyon Diablo and turned the culprit over to the proper authorities.
The outlaw was given a term in the Yuma Territorial Prison and life returned to normal at Canyon Diablo. The robbery was all but forgotten until a few years later when a cowboy out on riding range looking for strays happened to find a some weather beaten saddlebags with the payroll still inside!