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Mammoth Cave, Kentucky Stagecoach Robbery

Sept. 3, 1880---A stagecoach containing eight out-of-state tourist passengers was making its way from Cave City, Kentucky to Mammoth Cave, a well-known tourist attraction. On the way, two men, Jesse James and Bill Ryan, on horseback rode up behind the stage. One of the horsemen rode in front of the stage, pulled out a pistol, aimed it at the driver and told him to get off the stage. The other robber, meanwhile, aimed two pistols inside the stage, covering the passengers. One of the passengers was a woman and a fellow passenger, her father, was an old man. The robbers told them that they could remain in the coach, but the other six passengers, all men, would have to come out. The six men formed a line and put their hands in the air. Jesse then went through all their pockets while Ryan kept two pistols on the men. The passengers were threatended with death if anything of theirs was held back. From one of the passengers, a Judge Rowntree, Jesse took a gold watch with Rowntree's name inscribed on it. After this, Jesse searched under the seat cusions on the stage, where he discovered some valuables that the passengers had hid. After taking these valuables as well, Jesse wrote down the names and addresses of all the passengers, telling them all that he would return their possesions at a later time. He went on to say that he and his partner were only robbing the stage cause they were desperate and they had to. Following this, Jesse pulled out a bottle of whiskey and had every male passenger take a swig of it. The last passenger to take a swig was told to keep the bottle by Jesse. This done, the two robbers mounted back up and rode away. None of the passengers ever received their valuables back, as promised. It's likely that Jesse said he would return them as a joke. Also, Judge Rowntree's watch was later discovered in Jesse's home after he was killed.


Amount of Money Stolen

Citizens Killed/Wounded