The lightning-like promptness with which the robbers
were disposed of was a tribute to the pioneer residents of Meeker
and notice to the world that frontier men were without fear--
and shot fast and straight-- when the occasion required.
A short time before the Meeker Bank robbery the famous Butch
Cassidy gang had staged the successful robbery of the Montpelier,
Idaho bank, and had bragged on their return about how easy it
had been. Cassidy's story of his exploit aroused the imaginations
of some of the junior members of the gang and they decided to
organize their own outfit. Soon, this "junior gang"
picked the Bank of Meeker.
It was close to three in the afternoon when two of the gang entered
the Hugas building by the Main St. entrance. A robber named George
Law stepped up to the window, fired a shot close to the head
of assistant cashier David Smith and ordered him to raise his
hands. Mr. Smith was just a little slow in obeying the order
and another bullet whizzed past his head. These two shots aroused
the attention of Mr. Moulton, the local manager of Hugas and
Company. He and several clerks looked up to find that they
were covered by a revolver in the hands of robber Jim Shirley,
who had come in the back door. Finding the bank office door locked,
Shirley ordered Moulton to open it.
Law produced a sugar sack into which he emptied the cash drawer,
while robber number three, "The Kid" Pierce, kept watch
on the others in the bank lobby. Meanwhile, the two shots fired
in the bank building had attracted the attention of many of the
local men, including Town Marshal Ben Nichols. In a matter of
minutes the main street was guarded by a dozen unerring marksmen,
awaiting the appearance of the robbers.
The desperados started out the side door, with their prisoners
as shields in front of them. They had no sooner reached the street
when Shirley spotted townsman W.H. Clark and fired at him, striking
him in the right breast. The robbers then marched their hostages
to where their horses were tied. Shirley and Law untied the horses
while "The Kid" held his rifle over the hostages and
the armed men. By now, Moulton said later, they were getting
tired of holding their hands in the air when somebody "broke
and ran." "The Kid" opened fire injuring
three of the hostages.
The scattering of the hostages was the signal for Meeker's citizens
to get in their work, and in less time than it takes to tell
it, Shirley and "The Kid" were on the ground. Law,
seeing his pals drop, ran in the direction of the river, but
had not yet reached the corner before two bullets dropped him
to the ground. He lingered nearly an hour before giving up the
The Coroner's Jury was brief and the three bodies were turned
over to Undertaker Niblock and buried in the Highland Cemetery
in Meeker. Link Taggert made a fast ride to get Doc French
back to Meeker to treat the wounded, all of whom recovered nicely.