26 Jul: The Eccentric Outlaw

Charles E. Boles, otherwise known as ‘Black Bart’, was one of the Wild West’s most unlikely stagecoach robbers; being as he was a spiffy and quietly-spoken former teacher from Norfolk. But on 26th July, 1875 he made his name by robbing his first coach – without a gun.

He targeted only Wells Fargo coaches, and never killed a passenger. As his crime career progressed, he made a habit of leaving behind little poems, signed ‘PO8’. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly unpick the private investigation that led to his downfall; explain why he always *walked* away from the scene of the crime; and reveal why Boles was ‘the Forrest Gump of the 1800s’…

Further Reading:

• ‘The Poetic Tale of Literary Outlaw Black Bart’ (Smithsonian Magazine): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/poetic-tale-literary-outlaw-black-bart-180965356/

• ‘Norfolk origins of US outlaw Black Bart ‘revealed’’ (BBC News, 2018):


• ‘Stories of the Century – BLACK BART (Republic Pictures, 1954):