BANDIT YEARS, A GATHERING OF WOLVES
True Adventures of Four Outlaws
“Four quite diverse yet equally unforgettable stagecoach robbers of the 1880s are the subjects of this volume. The short, action-filled career of Billy LeRoy, the stereotypical desperado, contrasts with the almost half-century career of the cunning but charming Bill Miner (‘The Grey Fox’ of movie fame). Dugan further profiles Charley Allison, who moved with equal ease from law-abiding to lawless endeavors, and Hamilton White III, ‘The King of the Highwaymen.’ Though the major events detailed in this book all took place during a 10-month period in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, they provide a sound overview of the predatory habits of western outlaws. Includes photos, notes, bibliography, and index.”
“Mark Dugan tackles the subject of frontier violence as he considers the impact of stagecoach robbers Bill Miner, Billy LeRoy, Charley Allison, and Hamilton White III on the southern Colorado Barlow-Sanderson line in 1880-1881. None of these bandits would be able to escape the grasp of authorities, but only LeRoy would suffer the violent fate of a lynch mob in Del Norte, Colorado. Dugan’s account is well researched in newspaper and archival sources. The inclusion of numerous photos helps provide the reader with a feel for the period. For background information on incidents of lawlessness in the Southwest which have not received much attention, Dugan is to be congratulated.”
—Ron Briley, Sandia Preparatory School, Albuquerque, New Mexico, The Western Historical Quarterly
“The westward movement in the nineteenth century included a cross section of Americans—from the exalted to the vicious. Mark Dugan describes the lawless activities of some of the latter variety, who beset stagecoaches in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in 1880-1881. Dugan is a graduate of North Carolina State University and an ardent student of frontier desperadoes.
“The author narrates the exploits of four outlaw leaders: Bill Miner, who practiced the trade of banditry for fifty years; Arthur Pond, alias Billy LeRoy, whom newspapers confused with Billy the Kid; Charles Ennis (Annis), alias Allison, a former handcuff salesman; and Hamilton White III, a member of a prominent Texas family. These four highwaymen and their followers each descended upon J.L. Sanderson & Company stages. From September 1880 to June 1881, the road agents robbed ten coaches, especially along the Alamosa-Lake City route in Colorado. While these outlaws acquired little booty, their collective efforts aroused intense public anger. Irate citizens of Del Norte, Colorado, lynched Billy LeRoy and his brother, Silas Pond. The author regards Milner and White as men of above average abilities, but believes Allison and LeRoy inept. Dugan could go farther. These freebooters spent their loot frivolously, or in a pathetic display of ‘success,’ paraded their wealth (plunder) before hometown folks. They inexplicably returned to prey upon the same stagecoach company and face almost certain capture or death. The author has added a modest block to the slowly growing body of scholarship about lawlessness on the frontier. He has performed thorough research in newspapers, federal and state documents, and historical societies. He has managed to gather an impressive amount of material about such a brief and obscure subject.”
—Larry D. Ball, Arkansas State University, New Mexico Historical Review