Bill Miner: The Gentleman Bandit
Photo credit: Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Bill Miner was born in Kentucky, but he didn’t stay there for long. He went out west and became an outlaw. Then, after a long stint in San Quentin prison, he moved on north, hoping criminal business would be easier in the Canadian West.
They called him the “Gentleman Bandit” because of the polite courtesy he’d use when he was holding a gun to people’s heads. He was a man of firsts. It’s said he was the first to yell “Hands up!” during a robbery, and he was the first man to hijack a Canadian train.
The first train he robbed won him $7,000 in gold. At the time, that was enough of a fortune to live comfortably for two years. When the money ran out, though, he tried to pull off the trick again in 1905—and this time, it didn’t go as well.
The second train he robbed had nothing in but mail and old newspapers. Trying to make the best of a bad situation, Miner grabbed $15 and a bottle of liver pills and then ran for his life. He didn’t get far. The Mounted Police tracked him down, shot one of his cohorts in the leg, and brought Miner in. The Gentlemen Bandit was behind bars. He’d risked it all and lost it for $15 in cash.
Miner later escaped prison and fled to the US.
I guess that being courteous never hurts, even if you are a robber. Not sure that it really helped Bill, though.
Coffee in the kitchen again today.