The De Autremont Train Holdup, 1923

On October 11, 1923, brothers Ray, Roy, and Hugh De Autremont held up a Southern Pacific train in Oregon because they believed it carried $500,000 in gold. (It did not.) The brothers murdered the train engineer, brakeman, and fireman, and used too much dynamite to blow open the mail car, killing the railway postal clerk and destroying the mail. They fled the scene empty-handed, leaving behind several incriminating clues. An extensive manhunt followed, with postal inspectors following clues as far as Central America, Mexico, Canada, and Alaska. All three brothers were caught in 1927, after being recognized from reward posters. “We literally plastered the United States with circulars,” one inspector recalled. “I knew it would be through those we would get the men.”65 All three brothers were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.