One of the Old West’s zaniest train robberies occurred near the Arizona town Willcox on the evening of September 9th, 1899 when constable Burt Alvord and his part-time deputy, Billy Stiles, along with Bill Downing and Matt Burts robbed the Southern Pacific Railroad as it was pulling up the long grade west of town.
To establish an alibi they set up a private poker game in the back room of a local saloon, then climbed out the back window, mounted their horses and rode out to rob the train.
Legend says they got away with $60-80 thousand in gold coin. Actually it was only two to three thousand dollars.
They returned to the saloon, climbed back in the window and resumed their poker game.
A few minutes later a trainman burst into the room, “Marshal, the train’s been robbed.”
Leaping into action, Burt cried out, “Great Scott! I need three volunteers for a posse.”
Pointing a finger at his fellow train robbers, Billy, Downing and Matt, he shouted, “You, you and you.”
After a quick swearing in, the four rode off into the night in hot pursuit of…..themselves.