Deputy Dave’s Drink of the Day – High Stakes

On this day in 1866, the Reno gang carries out the first robbery of a moving train in the U.S., making off with over $10,000 from an Ohio & Mississippi train in Jackson County, Indiana. Prior to this innovation in crime, holdups had taken place only on trains sitting at stations or freight yards.

This new method of sticking up moving trains in remote locations low on law enforcement soon became popular in the American West, where the recently constructed transcontinental and regional railroads made attractive targets. With the western economy booming, trains often carried large stashes of cash and precious minerals. The sparsely populated landscape provided bandits with numerous isolated areas perfect for stopping trains, as well as plenty of places to hide from the law. Some gangs, like Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, found robbing trains so easy and lucrative that, for a time, they made it their criminal specialty. Railroad owners eventually got wise and fought back, protecting their trains’ valuables with large safes, armed guards and even specially fortified boxcars. Consequently, by the late 1800s, robbing trains had turned into an increasingly tough and dangerous job.

One of the most famous incidents of lawlessness involving a train was committed in 1889 by Hashknife employees and came to be known as the Canyon Diablo Train Robbery. On the morning of March 20, near the town of Canyon Diablo, four masked cowboys stopped a train belonging to the Santa Fe Railway and stole about $1,500 before riding north. A reward of $500 was offered for any information leading to the capture of the bandits and the sheriff of Yavapai County was informed. Sheriff William “Buckey” O’Neill organized a posse with four other men and began pursuing the bandits, who were easy to track because of footprints left in snow by the horses. Several days later, the posse made contact with them just across the border in Utah. A running battle ensued for the next five days, at the end of which, the posse trapped the cowboys inside Wahweap Canyon, near Cannonville, and forced them to surrender.

As for the Reno gang, which consisted of the four Reno brothers and their associates, their reign came to an end in 1868 when they all were finally captured after committing a series of train robberies and other criminal offenses. In December of that year, a mob stormed the Indiana jail where the bandits were being held and meted out vigilante justice, hanging brothers Frank, Simeon and William Reno (their brother John had been caught earlier and was already serving time in a different prison) and fellow gang member Charlie Anderson. In celebration of a bygone error, Today’s Deputy Dave’s Drink of the Day is High Stakes


1 oz vodka
1 oz mango rum
1 oz cherry brandy
1 oz orange juice
1 oz pineapple juice
1 tbsp Jagermeister® herbal liqueur

Stir and strain into a highball glass half full of ice.


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