Wells Fargo & Company treasure box, 1871.
01. Noel M. Loomis, Wells Fargo: An Illustrated History with Over 300 Illustrations (1968), C. N. Potter
02. History, Museum and Stores, The Wells Fargo Treasure Box, WellsFargo.com (retrieved August 23, 2014)
03. Maverick, Ghost Rider (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
04. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails
05. Maverick, Stampede (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
06. Maverick, The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Wells Fargo & Company
Express and banking company across the American West.
Organized on March 18, 1852 by owners and members of the board of directors of the American Express Company to provide general forwarding and commissions, the buying and selling gold, freight and mail service, and a network of express and banking offices, between New York and the gold fields of California.
Well established by the Panic of 1855 when the banking system in California collapsed, Wells Fargo survived the runs on competitor banks. In so doing, it established a solid reputation of dependability. This led to organizing its own stagecoach company, the purchase of the Overland Mail Company and participation in the Pony Express. In 1866, Wells Fargo's "grand consolidation" grounded them as the leading overland mail route from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean.
Ghost Rider: In 1871, Shane robbed a Union Pacific train in the Wyoming Territory and stole a pouch of U. S. Mail and a Wells Fargo treasure box containing $60,000. Before his capture, he gave to treasure box to his wife, Mary, who buried it in a canyon west of White Rock, Texas. While serving his sentence in the Montana Territorial Prison, Shane met fellow inmate Felton and the two planned a successful escape in 1872. Felton killed Shane after their prison break and traveled to White Rock to recover the stolen money from Mary. Once in White Rock, Felton killed Bert Nicholson and town deputy George, making it appear that Bret Maverick was the murderer. On June 14, Bret captured Felton, recovered the stolen Wells Fargo treasure and claimed a $3,000 reward from Wells Fargo.
Stampede: In June of 1876, two men robbed the Wells Fargo office in Vermillion, Dakota Territory, of $40,000 in gold dust. One of the men was killed, but the other escaped across the Missouri River into Nebraska and buried the gold dust in the Mountain Meadow. In March of 1877, a Wells Fargo detective caught up to him in Natchez, mortally wounded him with a gunshot in the chest. Dandy Jim Buckley found him dying in a dive on Silver Street, where the man told Buckley the story of the buried gold dust. In order to take care of his female companion, the man sold Buckley a map to the treasure for $200 and died later that night. In April, Buckley partnered with Bret Maverick to recover the gold dust and split it fifty-fifty between them. But Bret led Buckley into Vermillion where he turned it in to the Wells Fargo office for the ten percent reward.
The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick: In September of 1876, Cliff Sharp robbed the Wells Fargo office of $40,000 in Hallelujah, New Mexico Territory, and killed its clerk during his getaway. In nearby Elbow Bend, he planted incriminating evidence in Bret Maverick's hotel room, where Sheriff Chick Tucker's posse arrested Bret, bringing him to Hallelujah to stand trial. Bret was found guilty of Sharp's crime and sentenced to hang. Tucker and Coroner Oliver Poole schemed to allow Bret to survive the hanging and go free if Bret would lead them to where the stolen money was hidden, keeping it for themselves. But Bret escaped and later recovered the money after killing Sharp at his home in Santa Fe. Bret returned the money to Hallelujah, clearing his name and earning a $5,000 reward.
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