I guess the way you approach any job is what makes your reputation for you, good or bad. Here is a good example of what I'm talking about!
In many ways, Bill Miner epitomized what it meant to be an Old West outlaw. He was a true highwayman, robbing everything from stagecoaches to trains, and he squandered most of his loot in dusty saloons and dance halls. Except, unlike other outlaws, he wasn’t known for spittin’ or cussin’ or gun-slinging but was instead recognized for his politeness and soft-spoken nature. In fact, after his death, a major newspaper ran a four-column story on Miner, describing him as a “kindly, lovable old man, whose thoughts were humorous, whose manner was that of one who was a friend to all humankind . . . the most courtly, the most kindly spoken, the most venerable man . . . one whom they all regard with affection and something of esteem.”
Those endearing words refer to a known robber who had a 45-year criminal career. Miner had secured that soft spot in so many people’s hearts by stealing almost entirely from corporations, feeling that they robbed the common man. Many agreed, and he became a folk hero in both the US and Canada.
On the occasions when Miner had to steal from an ordinary person to, say, facilitate his way out of town, he often made a point to return at least part of what he had taken. For instance, on one occasion, he stole $80 from a ranch hand and then later returned $10. In another instance, he robbed a driver of $5, his watch, and boots, yet was considerate enough to return the watch and boots after he finished with them. According to legend, he was also the first to say “put your hands up, and nobody gets hurt.” These types of thoughtful acts earned him the nickname “the Gentleman Bandit.”
Miner had an uncanny ability at thievery and recruiting a steady stream of accomplices. What he wasn’t so great at, however, was evading capture. He went to prison seven times, escaped four of those times, yet still spent a total of 35 years behind bars. His criminal career, which spanned between 1865 and 1911, was the longest of any Old West outlaw, even surpassing the legendary Jesse James.
I guess that in those days, if you died with a good reputation for not spitting in the saloon you were good to go! For a bandit, he seemed to be fairly popular, though.
Coffee out on the patio this morning. Breezy and hot!