Red Jack Almer gang.

On August 10th, 1883 the Florence-Globe Stagecoach was robbed at the remote Riverside Station on the Gila River by the Red Jack Almer gang. Wells Fargo Messenger, Johnny Collins, declared the stage wasn’t carrying any gold. But a female passenger clad in a fancy dress, hat and dark veil, stepped out of the coach and called him a liar. The “lady” turned out to be Red Jack wearing disguised as a woman. He had witnessed the gold being loaded at Florence and near Riverside he signaled his cohorts at a prearranged spot and they proceeded to stop the stage. Messenger Collins resisted and Almer raised his skirt, pulled his pistol and shot him. The gang got away with some $2,000 in silver and $500 in gold.

A posse led by Pinal County Sheriff A. J. Doran rode into Len Redfield’s ranch on the San Pedro River, a branch of the Gila and accidentally found a Wells Fargo strongbox hidden in a pile of hay. Redfield was known for harboring desperadoes was a “usual suspect.”

Later, they found another box with more loot. They concluded that one had come from a robbery near Bisbee. They wrung a confession out of Joe Tuttle, who was at the ranch and had enough evidence to arrest Redfield too. Robbery was one thing and murder was quit another. Smart bandits avoided killing if possible. Redfield and Tuttle were taken to Florence and jailed. A mob of angry citizens came in through the back door and took Tuttle and Redfield out of their cells and hanged them from the rafters.

Another posse led by Pima County Sheriff Bob Paul ran down the other robbers one by one and near Wilcox on October 4th 1883 he caught up with Red Jack, also known as Jack Averill near Wilcox. The outlaw chose to make a fight of it and in the ensuing gunfight Red Jack Almer and Charley Hensley and killed them.

Len Redfield’s ranch was also where Luther King was arrested by the Earp posse following the attempted Benson stagecoach robbery on March 15th,1881. Ironically, Paul was the shotgun messenger who was on the Benson stage when the attempted train robbery was thwarted when Paul grabbed the reins and left outlaws Jim Crane. Bill Leonard  and Harry Head.  Stage driver Bud Philpot and Passenger Pete Roerig were killed. Redfield also helped them evade the pursuing posse.

Related Articles

  • On stagecoaches there usually wasn't a "First Class," however some companies did have three classes.…

  • Who were the outlaws who robbed the train at Wilcox, Wyoming in June 2nd, 1899?…

  • The men involved in Arizona's last train robbery obviously watched too many of those old-time…