Horsethief Basin, high in Arizona’s Bradshaw Mountains gets its name because rustlers used to steal horses in Mexico, central and southern Arizona, drive them up to the forested basin to holding corrals and alter their brands would drive them north to Utah and Colorado where they’d sell them. Then, just to show no favoritism they’d steal horses up there, drive them to Horsethief Basin and re-brand before herding them down south to sell.
The old Horse Thief Trail ran between Mexico and Utah. The first white man to build a cabin in the area was a rustler named Horse Thief Davis. He was later joined by Horse Thief Thompson. Civilization finally forced them to leave the area but their cabin, known as Horse Thief Cabin, was not removed until 1938.
Persistent rumors about hidden loot beneath the floor lured treasure hunters who dug diligently but worked in vain in an effort to find the loot. The corrals used to hold the stolen livestock were still standing in the 1930s