(ILLUSTRATION BY MAX LACADO) He was a PROFESSIONAL THIEF. His name stirred FEAR in the hearts of the people. He TERRORIZED the Wells Fargo Stage Line for 13 years. He spooked even the most RUGGED FRONTIERSMAN. During his reign of TERROR between 1875 and 1883, he is credited with STEALING the bags away from 29 different STAGECOACH CREWS. And he did it all without FIRING a shot. His WEAPON was His REPUTATION. His AMMUNITION was FEAR and INTIMIDATION. A HOOD hid his face. No VICTIM ever saw him. No artist ever SKETCHED his features. No SHERIFF could ever track his trail. BLACK BART was his NAME and FEAR was his GAME.
But the interesting thing about BLACK BART, when the HOOD finally came off, there was nothing to FEAR. After the authorities finally tracked him down, they didn’t find a BLOODTHIRSTY BANDIT—they found a mild-mannered DRUGGIST from Decatur, Illinois. The man the newspapers pictured storming through the mountains on HORSEBACK was, in reality, so AFRAID of horses he rode to and from his ROBBERIES in a BUGGY. His name was Charles E. Boles—the BANDIT who never once fired a SHOT, because he never once LOADED his gun.