Notorious Arizona Outlaws
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As a West Phoenix sports bar and restaurant, Long Wongs enjoys a good story about the rough and tumble early days of the Wild West. In post-civil-war America around the mid-to-late 1800s, the western frontier was still being settled, and it lacked the law enforcement necessary to deter corrupt characters from terrorizing its towns and citizens. Hence the term Wild West. It was, in some senses, a free-for-all, and the uncivilized nature of the west was a breeding ground for unrest and crime.
Just the mention of the term outlaw conjures to mind a gunslinging, horseback-riding, bank-robbing, bar patron whose wanted poster is plastered on every storefront and building in town. And while these men—and women—were certainly criminals, some of them, such as Bonnie and Clyde, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Jesse James, have managed to earn a legend’s status in modern times. Here are the stories of two of our very own Arizona outlaws:
William “Curly Bill” Brocius
Robbery, drunkenness, terrorizing churchgoers and priests, burning down saloons, and just plain and simple lawlessness characterized Curly Bill’s lifestyle. Truewest website said his “shenanigans drew national publicity and made him the most famous outlaw in wild and wooly Arizona.” He was said to have curly dark hair, a freckled face, a strong build, and to stand close to six feet tall. That sounds like the portrait of an outlaw . . . except perhaps the freckles, which are a cute addition. In one of his most famous acts, a drunken Curly Bill fatally shot—whether it was intentional or unintentional is debatable—the Tombstone Town Sheriff. Fortunately for Bill, none other than the famous western lawman Wyatt Earp was present at the shooting. Eventually, it was Wyatt’s testimony that led to Bill’s exoneration in court. Ironically, two years later in 1882, Brocius would fall victim to a gunshot wound inflicted by Earp during a shootout.
Pearl Hart, “Girl Bandit”
Originally born in Canada, Pearl Hart found her way to the Wild West in 1895 after seeing acts like Annie Oakley perform in Chicago. Lured west by the extravagant and romantic tails that were told—and also partly by the need to escape her drunken and sometimes violent husband—Hart eventually settled in Arizona. She soon realized, however, that the west was not as captivating as the stories would have one believe. In order to survive, she took on odd jobs but eventually turned desperate when her mother fell ill and needed financial help. That’s when her path intersected with a man named Joe Boot. The pair concocted a plan to rob a stagecoach and almost got away with the $450 worth of loot they stole. But they got lost in the desert, were found by the town sheriff, and sentenced to time in jail. Her court hearing and time in jail made Pearl quite famous as the “Girl Bandit.” Historically speaking, she is the only known female to have robbed a stagecoach and lived to tell the story. Eventually her fame ran its course, and as a result, little is known about her life after release from jail in 1901.
While we enjoy the legendary tales, we can promise you, there won’t be any bar brawls or shootouts at Long Wongs AZ Famous Wings! We’re a family-friendlyWest Phoenix sports bar and restaurant, and we’ve got the best wings in the modern wild west. So come on out and satisfy your cravings!
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