On the afternoon of February 15th, 1900 the train station in Fairbank, Arizona was the scene of a sensational attempted train robbery. In the annals of the Old West it might have been the only time a train robbery was attempted in a station, in broad daylight and in front of live witnesses. Five outlaws, including Three-Finger Jack Dunlap and Bravo Juan Yoas, were all members of the Alvord gang. Before the arrival of the train the boys were loitering around the station pretending to be drunken cowboys. What the boys didn’t know was the Wells Fargo messenger on that run from Nogales just happened to be the famous ex-Texas Ranger and Texas lawman, Jeff Milton. Not expecting any danger as the train approached the station, Milton was standing in the open doorway.
Suddenly, the desperados jerked their pistols and opened fire on Milton. A bullet ripped into his left shoulder severing an artery.
Seriously wounded, he fell back inside the car and dropped behind a trunk. His gunfighter instincts took over and he grabbed a Wells Fargo short barrel ten-gauge shotgun, tossed the keys to the strongbox into a dark corner of the express car and waited for the bandits to charge.
Thinking Milton was dead, the bandits rushed towards open door. As they drew near, he arose from behind the trunk and opened up with both barrels. Three-Finger Jack was in the lead and he caught a load of buckshot in the belly. Bravo Juan had just enough time to turn around. He caught a load in the seat of his pants. It was not a good place to be shot when one was going to make his getaway on horseback.
The outlaws quickly decided to clear out and rode away empty-handed. Three-Finger Jack was mortally wounded and was slowing their escape so, a few miles from Fairbank his pals decided to leave him to die along the trail.
Meanwhile, back in Fairbank a posse was organized, and trackers easily picked up the trail leading to where Jack lay dying.
Jack was much annoyed at being left behind by his cronies and was only too willing to give lawmen enough information to arrest all the gang members including the gang leader who doubled as Willcox town marshal, Burt Alvord.