10 Unsolved Crimes & Mysteries From The American Old West ( A Ship Isn’t Usually Something You Associate With The Wild West)

Cowboys, gunslingers, and hidden riches have long been a part of the American West.

However, there have been uncertainties regarding the actual fate of particular outlaws, as well as other mysteries that have interested people for over a century and that modern historians have never solved or explained.

Butch Cassidy’s Death

Cassidy’s mug shot from the Wyoming Territorial Prison in 1894.

In the 1890s Wild West, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid robbed railroads, banks, and stole horses. Even thoughthe fact that the infamous bank robbers were slain in a firefight with the Bolivian military after fleeing the United States, several of Cassidy’s friends and family members claim that he visited them several times after he was believed to have been killed.

Victorio Peak Treasure

Victorio Peak, Southern New Mexico. source

The Victorio Peak Treasure is one of the most famous treasures in the United States, perhaps second only to the Lost Dutchman Mine. The treasure’s origin is unknown.

It’s said to be the lost treasure of Juan de Onate, the man who established New Mexico as a Spanish colony. Another idea is that it belonged to Father LaRue, a Catholic missionary who formerly managed gold mining in the region.

It’s also been related to Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, and Apache Indians who raided stagecoaches on their way to California. The legend of the Victorio Peak Treasure begins in the 1600s, when a dying soldier wandered into a New Mexico monastery and confessed to a monk named Padre Felipe LaRue his knowledge of a hidden cache of gold ore in the mountains.

So LaRue gathered a group of individuals and discovered a mine where he and other members of the group mined gold effectively for three years. When the Mexican Army arrived to take over LaRue’s enterprise, he instructed employees to block the mine’s entrance using a landslide. LaRue and his miners died without disclosing the location of the mine entrance.

Bill Longley’s Execution

Bill Longley captured, June 6, 1877.

Before he was hanged at the age of 27, “Bloody Bill” Longley had committed more than 30 murders, indicating that he was one of the Wild West’s most dynamic and lunatic gunslingers.

He was captured in 1873, but he was released when the reward was not paid. He was arrested again three years later but escaped in the confusion after setting fire to the jail.

Longley was surrounded and apprehended on June 6, 1877, and executed by hanging on October 11, 1878, in Giddings, Texas, just a few miles from his hometown of Evergreen. The “Bloody Bill” is said to have escaped before being slain. Longley’s father, Campbell, stated in a press release years after the execution that his son had not been executed.

He said that a wealthy cousin in California paid the cops with $4,000, causing them to set up a trick rope. They then transported the body away after staging the hanging. This motivated several historians to do research. There are several tales and stories about Longley that cannot be confirmed by any modern source.

Cochise’s Burial Site

Cochise (c. 1805 – June 8, 1874) was a leader of the Chihuicahui local group of the and principal of the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apache.

Chief Cochise was a well-known character during the war between Native Americans and European settlers.

Before the middle of the nineteenth century, when he was well established as the leader of the Chiricahua Apaches in northern Mexico and southern Arizona, nothing is known about his life.

After reaching an agreement, Cochise retired to his new reserve, where he died of natural causes on June 8, 1874, with his friend Jeffords acting as an administrator.

He was buried, together with his horse and dog, amid the rocks above one of his favorite sites in Arizona’s Dragoon Mountains, today known as Cochise Stronghold.

Only his band and Tom Jeffords were aware of the location. They carried this information to their graves, informing no one where Cochise was buried, and the exact site of his true burial area is unknown.

Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

In many versions of the story, Weaver’s Needle is a prominent landmark for locating the lost mine. source

It’s possibly the most talked-about lost treasure in American history, but the gold appears to be more myth than fact.

According to folklore, the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is a rich gold mine located in the southwestern United States. The mine is named after German immigrant Jacob Waltz (about 1810-1891), who is said to have found it in the nineteenth century and kept its location hidden.

After he died in 1891, gold miners traveled in quest of the location of the mind, and tourists have continued to do so every year since. However, the gold mine was never discovered, and several people perished in the process.

Pancho Villa’s Head

Villa wearing bandoliers in front of an insurgent camp.

Francisco Villa, also known as Pancho Villa, rose from robber to military leader in his lifetime. He became one of the most notorious personalities of the Mexican Revolution towards the end of his life.

In 1923, after retiring from the service, he was killed in an ambush. He was laid to rest in Hidalgo del Parral in Chihuahua, Mexico. His grave was broken into three years later, and his body was beheaded. Grave robbers unearthed his remains and removed portions of his body, including his head. I

It’s unknown what happened to his head, although there are several legends and rumors. His family claims that when his remains were transported to the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City in 1976, only a few bones remained.


The Thunderbird photograph that is most circulated. However, many people believe that the real Thunderbird photograph is still a mystery.

In the late 1800s, claims of enormous flying birds resembling pterodactyls were common in newspaper accounts in California and Arizona.

A photograph of one such beast fastened to a barn near Tombstone is supposed to have traveled extensively, however no duplicate of the image has ever been found.

Numerous experts, investigators, and writers of various anomalies declare, with perfect confidence, that they saw the valuable image when it was released. However, the image cannot be located. It’s almost as if it didn’t exist in the first place.

W.C. Jameson, a Wild West author and investigator, claims to have one of the original feathers in his collection and claims that the feathers have been inspected by several ornithologists but that the species responsible for creating them has yet to be identified.

Billy the Kid’s Death

Detail from a photo authenticated in 2015 of Billy the Kid (left) playing croquet in New Mexico in 1878.

Billy the Kid was unquestionably the most renowned outlaw of the Wild West. He allegedly killed 21 guys, one for each year of his life. Sheriff Pat Garret tracked Billy the Kid down to a residence in Fort Sumner, where he was shot and killed, according to Wild West legend.

However, in 1948, a man called Ollie Partridge Roberts (nicknamed Brushy Bill) in Central Texas claimed to be Billy the Kid; his claims were rejected by the governor of New Mexico and his own family.

He died without being able to prove his identity. A statistical face recognition study comparing Roberts to known photographs of The Kid revealed that the two guys were in fact the same person.

The Desert Ship

No one knows for sure, but the legend of the Lost Ship of the Desert has become one of the Southwest’s most tantalizing tales.

Legends about ancient ships discovered in California’s Colorado Desert have given rise to the Lost Ship of the Desert.

Stories concerning sunken ships concealed in the desert plains north of the Gulf of California have been circulated since the American Civil War. On December 1, 1870, a man called Charley Clusker claimed to have discovered an exceptionally well-preserved Spanish galleon, although nothing was ever brought back from his desert travels.

Since then, only a few explorers have attempted to locate the ship and her plunder, but none have found evidence that either the ship or its cargo exists. Of sure, people will continue to seek for it.


In 1940, prospectors working near the Colorado River discovered a cave containing the mummified remains.

Queho was an intriguing person who alternated between serial killer, boogeyman, and scapegoat. Little is known about his childhood or life in general.

He was born in the 1880s, the son of a Native American mother and an unidentified father. His mixed background made him an outcast from the start.

During his lifetime, Queho (pronounced KEY-ho) was responsible for the killings of 23 individuals and was dubbed Nevada’s “Public Enemy No. 1” as well as the state’s first mass killer. Queho may have been considered an outcast because of his mixed ethnicity or because of a limb deformity or clubfoot. According to another story, he left noticeable traces due to a badly healed fractured leg.

The moniker was given to him by Spanish-speaking Indians and is a variant of the Spanish word meaning grumbler or complainer. Queho was recognized as a body with a double row of teeth on February 19, 1940. His skeleton was displayed before being buried in an unmarked burial in the public section of the local cemetery.

Must Read