John Sontag had a particular reason for becoming an outlaw: revenge. He was working on the Southern Pacific in 1888 when his leg was crushed as he tried to couple two cars. Sontag accused the company of failing to help provide the care he needed for his injuries—and then refused to hire him once he was healed up. He then took a job near Visalia, California where he met Chris Evans. Evans hated the railroad for its strong-arm tactics in forcing local residents to sell their land. Soon enough, the two men began robbing Southern Pacific trains.