The Greatest Female Outlaws - American Cowboy | Western Lifestyle - Travel - People

The Greatest Female Outlaws

The Wild West's most infamous wild women.
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Credit: Ft. Smith National Historic Park Outlaw Belle Starr with Deputy U.S. Marshal Benjamin Tyner Hughes, at her arraignment in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Credit: Ft. Smith National Historic Park Outlaw Belle Starr with Deputy U.S. Marshal Benjamin Tyner Hughes, at her arraignment in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

1. Belle Starr (1848–1889) Myra Maybelle Shirley started dreaming of an outlaw’s life when Jesse James’s gang hid out at her family’s farm when she was a child, and she willingly joined her first husband when he enlisted in Thomas Starr’s lawless clan. After his death, Belle married Sam Starr, the son of her first husband’s criminal partner. Known for her dead-aim, velvet riding habit, and the ostrich plume she wore in her Stetson, Starr went out true to form: shot in the back while galloping away.

2. Pearl Hart (c. 1871–unknown) At 22 years old, Canadian-born Pearl Hart was left penniless by her husband’s gambling ways. But that wouldn’t hold her back. Inspired by Western icons like Annie Oakley, she headed to Arizona where she met Joe Boot, who tutored her in a life of crime. The pair was caught in 1899 after committing one of the last stagecoach robberies in the United States.

3. Laura Bullion (18761961) Born to an immigrant mother and outlaw father, Bullion inherited a legacy of hard knocks. She was working as a prostitute in San Antonio when she met and joined the Wild Bunch gang. Known as the “The Thorny Rose,” Bullion assisted in robberies and other armed crimes, often disguised as a man, until she was caught with $8,500 of banknotes acquired in the Great Northern train robbery.

4. Rose Dunn (1878–1955) Rose Dunn entered a life of crime after her brothers taught her to ride, rope, and shoot at a young age. When they joined George “Bittercreek” Newcomb’s band of outlaws, she quickly became the darling of the gang. She fell in love with Newcomb, and once saved him from a posse of U.S. Marshals. As he sat wounded, Dunn ran through open fire to supply him with ammunition, then held off the Marshals with shots from her rifle until he could limp to safety. 

5. Bonnie Parker (1910–1934) The star pupil of her high school class, Bonnie Parker hardly seemed like a bandit in the making. Yet that’s what she became almost overnight after meeting ex-con Clyde Barrow in 1930. Together, they embarked on a 21-month crime spree that spanned five states and cost 13 civilians their lives, before law enforcement—led by former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer—finally ambushed the pair near Gibsland, La., on May 23, 1934

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