Like most other Western states, Idaho has seen its fair share of desperadoes, bandits, horse thieves, and various and sundry other types of old-West criminal "ne'r-do-wells." Most, if not all, of these misguided souls eventually ended up dangling from a rope, often leaving their ill-gotten gains buried in secret spots that remain secret to this day.
So here are 3 unrecovered Idaho bandit gold treasure trove legends for you to peruse. Each of these tales contains verifiable elements that can be expanded upon by a savvy and research-oriented treasure hunter (something we should all aspire to be, by the way):
Lost Gold of "Robber's Roost"
Way back in 1865 a gang of enterprising bandits held up a stagecoach near McCammon in Bannock County, Idaho. Their take? Over 3,600 troy ounces (that's 12 troy pounds, my friend!) of placer gold nuggets and dust from some of Idaho's famed gold fields. Unfortunately for the desperadoes, their score was short and sweet. A posse was soon hot on their trail, forcing the bandits to bury their loot at a spot near McCammon known locally as "Robber's Roost." Eventually each of the gang members was caught, jailed, tried, convicted, and hung. Not a single one of them revealed the location of the gold stash before the hangman's noose ended their respective careers.
The "Brown's Bench" Strongbox
A solitary bandit robbed the Jarbridge stage in 1888 near modern Salmon Dam. This brave but foolhardy criminal made off with a strongbox filled with gold specie of varying denominations, which he managed to hide before the inevitable posse caught up with him and shot him dead. Legend states that the bandit's gold was buried (or otherwise hidden very well) somewhere on the east side of "Brown's Bench," a distinctive mesa-like geologic formation some 10-15 miles out of Rogerson, Idaho.
"Lost Cave" Gold
Known as the "Lost Cave" Gold, there is a small fortune (over $40,000 face value) in newly-minted gold coins buried in an "above ground" cave near the Nevada state line somewhere in Boise County, Idaho. The gold, nestled in a small strongbox, was part of the loot taken by a small group of bandits who meant to return for the loot later, after avoiding "John Law." They were unsuccessful in this latter enterprise and went to their graves without revealing the location of their gold-filled cave.
So there you have it. Three potential treasure troves requiring additional research that may "flesh" things out some and provide salient information on the viability of their recovery. Remember, there is an element of truth to each and every treasure trove legend.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "4 'Classic' Treasure Hunting Books"
(c) J.R. 2009
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