Where can I find information on the outlaw known as “The Last Train Robber?”


Troy Carlisle

Tulsa, Oklahoma

You must be talking about Bill Carlisle. He robbed the Union Pacific for the first time in February 1916. His modus operandi: Force the porter to walk through the Pullman car, gathering valuables from the passengers as he went. His scheme worked so well that he committed robberies a couple more times in the following months. During the third holdup, Carlisle sprained his ankle while getting off the train, and a posse ran him down along the banks of the North Platte River. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to prison. He escaped in 1919 by hiding in a packing crate being shipped out of the prison workshop.

By November of that year, he was back to his old tricks–but his luck was again bad. He tried to hold up a train near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, but he messed with the wrong passengers, soldiers who were returning from WWI. A guard jumped him, and Bill accidentally shot himself in the hand. He briefly got away before being captured at a miner’s cabin near Estabrook.

Back in prison, Bill decided to go straight. After his release, he settled in Kemmerer, where he opened a cigar store and later a gas station and cafe. He frequently regaled his customers with hair-raising stories of his days as an outlaw. He died in 1964.

For his take on his career, check out his 1946 autobiography, Bill Carlisle: Lone Bandit.

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