10 Notorious Female Outlaws From the Wild West

Updated on August 11, 2016
Pearl Hart
Pearl Hart

1. Pearl Hart

Born in Lindsay, Canada in 1871, Hart attended an exclusive school. However, she enjoyed adventuring more than school work. At age seventeen, Pearl eloped to Chicago with gambler, Frederick Hart. But, Frederick was abusive and Hart left him at age Twenty-two. She made her way to Arizona where she met miner, Joe Boot. When Boot couldn’t make enough dough from mining, the lovers turned to robbery. They developed a routine where Hart would lure a man into her room, and, once through the door, Boot would whack the unsuspecting gentleman on the head and rob him. However, this play was risky and the couple were almost caught on several occasions. In 1899, Hart developed a plan to rob a stagecoach. More money, less risk.

Hart cut her hair and dressed as a man. Boot held up the driver, while Hart took over $400 from the passengers. After giving a little back to ensure the victims had enough money for food and a hotel, Hart and Boot rode gallantly away into the sunset, only to get lost in the desert. After several days of wandering, they desperately needed sleep, but when they woke the sheriff and his posse had found them. They were caught a mere three miles from the scene of the crime. It was while she was being tried for her crimes that Hart is famous for saying this feminist phrase, "I shall not consent to be tried under a law in which my sex had no voice in making." Unfortunately, the judge didn't care and Hart was tried and convicted anyway.

Being the second woman to rob a stage coach and the first one not to die while doing it, Hart instantly became the most famous woman in Arizona. Journalists came from all over to interview Hart and photograph her with her gun. Hart received a pardon after 18 months. The official reason was that the penitentiary did not have accommodations for women, although rumor had it that Hart was pregnant and the judge didn't want to have to explain how that happened. Hart later had a brief stint in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, but lived the rest of her life low key.

Mugshot of Laura Bullion
Mugshot of Laura Bullion

2. Laura Bullion

Bullion was born into a life of crime. Her father was a bank robber, and Bullion, after spending her teenage years as a prostitute, joined the Wild Bunch Gang and became known at the “Rose of the Wild Bunch”. Bullion sold stolen goods and made connections that kept the bunch in steady supply of horses. She was romantically involved with several members of the gang, on and off. On certain occasions she dressed as a man and joined the rest of the gang in train robberies. In 1901, she was arrested with $8,500 worth of stolen banknotes in her possession. When she was released from prison, Bullion retired from her life of crime and became an interior designer in Memphis, Tennessee. Bullion died of heart disease in 1961. Her gravestone is embossed with a rose and thorny vines and reads “The Thorny Rose.” Bullion was the last surviving member of The Wild Bunch Gang.

3. Madam Vestal

Born and raised on a wealthy southern plantation, Belle Siddons was the definition of a Southern beauty. During the Civil War, she employed her good looks and became a confederate spy at twenty-five. She was caught and imprisoned, but pardoned after four months. She later married a gambling man who taught her to play cards. Finding that she was naturally good at the game, Belle became famous as a dealer of the game 21. When her husband died, Siddons followed the gold rush and set up shop in South Dakota. As owner of her own dance hall, bar, and gambling establishment, Siddons changed her name to Madame Vestal. It was in her establishment that she met and fell in love with stage coach robber, Archie McLaughlin. Once again, Siddons used her skills and beauty to become a spy and retract information from stagecoach drivers which she then passed on to her lover. Unfortunately, Siddons’ confidence got the best of her and one night she let slip that there was going to be a robbery. McLaughlin was caught, tried and hung, and Siddons became a wandering drunk who would eventually die alone in jail.

4. Rose Dunn

Born in Oklahoma in 1879, Dunn became an outlaw when she fell in love with George Newcomb, a member of the Doolin Gang. Dunn participated in the gang by providing them with ammunition and supplies when members could not go to town. Once, Dunn saved Newcomb when he was wounded by U.S. Marshals. She dodged open fire and held off the Marshals with her own rifle until he could get to safety. Dunn’s brothers, who were bounty hunters, eventually turned Newcomb in and Dunn settled down with a politician.

Rose Dunn
Rose Dunn
Sally Scull
Sally Scull

5. Sally Scull

Sarah Jane Newman was born tough. Born in 1817 to one of the first families to settle in Austin territory, Scull grew up having to defend her family’s land from constant attack. Her mother, Rachel Newman, once cut off the toes of a Comanche Indian who was trying to get through their front door. Inheriting her mother’s spirit, Scull became notorious as a male-dressing, gun-slinging, horse-trading woman. Twice a year she would make the treacherous trip alone to Mexico and come back with horses she probably stole, but no proof could be found. She’s also rumored to have killed two of her five husbands.

Mary Katherine Haroney, a.k.a. Big Nose Kate
Mary Katherine Haroney, a.k.a. Big Nose Kate

6. Big Nose Kate

Mary Katherine Haroney was born into a wealthy family with devastating circumstances. Kate’s parents died when she was fourteen and she was placed into a foster care system. Kate ran away from her caregiver and went on to marry a dentist. When her husband died, Kate moved to Texas and became a dance hall girl and prostitute. This is where she met Doc Holliday. Kate spent the next several years acting as Holliday’s sidekick as she followed him across the country. She is famous for burning down a building to release Holliday from incarceration.

7. Belle Starr

Born in 1848 to a prosperous family in Missouri, Myra Maybelle Shirley should have become a proper young lady, married a rich man, and never done anything interesting in her life. But, as luck would have it, Starr preferred to be outdoors learning to shoot a gun with her older brother, Bud, than stay inside the all-girl’s school she attended.

Fate changed the stars for Starr when her family moved to Texas in 1864. It was here that she would met members of Jesse James’ crew, the James-Younger Gang. In 1866, Starr married a horse thief named Jim Reed, who, in 1869, murdered a man who was said to have killed his brother. After the murder, the couple fled to California together. Jim was shot to death in 1874. Left as a widow, Belle joined the Starr Clan and married Samuel Starr. It was then that she submerged herself in outlawry. She became the mastermind behind the gang. Starr was arrested several times, but it seemed she was just as good at eluding sheriffs as she was at stealing horses, they never had enough evidence to put her away. In 1889, Starr was shot in the back while riding home from the general store. Her murderer is still unknown.

Belle Starr
Belle Starr
Etta Place and the Sundance Kid
Etta Place and the Sundance Kid

8. Etta Place

Most well-known as Butch Cassidy’s girlfriend and, later, Harry Longabaugh’s (the Sundance Kid) wife, Etta Place is surrounded by mystery. Historians know that she was a sweetheart to the Wild Bunch Gang, that she assisted Cassidy and Longabaugh in certain heists and fled with them to Argentina, but her exact identity and life after Longabaugh’s death are mostly unknown. Theories have suggested that she and Ann Bassett, one of the famous, cattle-rustling Bassett sisters, were one and the same because of similar looks and their ties to the Wild Bunch Gang.

Eleanor Dumont
Eleanor Dumont

9. Eleanor Dumont

Perhaps born in New Orleans to Creole parents around 1829, Dumont’s early life is not well-known. What is known is that she appeared in Nevada City, opened up a gambling house and immediately enticed men with her good looks and even better manners. Dumont fell in love with conman Jack McKnight who stole her money and sold her ranch. Dumont tracked McKnight down and shot him dead. After that, she returned to gambling. She became plump and a thick line of hair began to grow on her upper lip, earning her the nickname Madame Mustache. After that, Dumont’s fortunes continued to dwindle. In 1878 she lost $300 of borrowed money in one night of gambling. She was found dead the next morning.

10. Bonnie Parker

Born in 1910 in Rowena, Texas, Parker grew up to be a bright student with aspirations to become an actress. But everything changed when nineteen-year-old Bonnie met twenty-year-old ex-con, Clyde Barrow. The two fell immediately in love and Bonnie joined Clyde’s gang to become a full-time thief and murderer. Bonnie and Clyde embarked on a two-year crime spree that crossed five states and killed thirteen civilians. They died in an ambush led by Texas Ranger, Frank Hamer, in 1934. During a brief stint in jail, Bonnie wrote a poem that foreshadowed their fate: “Someday they’ll go down together/ And they’ll bury them side by side/ To few it’ll be grief/ to the law a relief/ but it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.”

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Jay 

        2 months ago

        is this real because im doing an essay and im not sure if this is legit

      • profile image

        truthseeker 

        11 months ago

        My wife is an accomplished family history researcher and a

        young neighbor asked her to help him learn more about his family, especially in regards to a family secret. It turns out the secret was his great grandparents were gunned down by Bonnie and Clyde and supposedly with a Colt 380 pistol. Ironically, I inherited a 1926 Colt 380 pistol from my wife's father.

        Small world, isn't it?

      • profile image

        Kenneth Avery 

        11 months ago

        Sckylar,

        I did it. I actually typed your name and correctly I might add.

        I wanted to give (for no charge) you another comment concerning (this) topic.

        " . . .sigh."

        Write soon. Please.

      • grand old lady profile image

        Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

        11 months ago from Philippines

        Nice! I enjoyed reading about all these feisty women criminals at a time when women had so few rights. Well done.

      • profile image

        Ben mayes 

        13 months ago

        Are you single? And if so id love to get a coffee sometime if thats alright with you. You can text me at 971-322-7502. Hope we can connect!

        -Ben

      • S R Gibby-Brown profile imageAUTHOR

        Sckylar Gibby-Brown 

        16 months ago from Phoenix, AZ

        Kenneth,

        Glad you liked it! I plan on writing more articles like this one that involve interesting people from history. Maybe sometime soon!

      • kenneth avery profile image

        Kenneth Avery 

        16 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Sckylar,

        Got to tell you that this hub was fantastic. A work of literary art and I mean it.

        My favorite, although you didn't ask for it, lady outlaw was Bonnie Parker--if only the real Parker looked like Faye Dunaway. Sigh.

        Thanks for such a deep, interesting hub.

        Glad to have met you and now following you.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)