We’re heading back to the wild west to meet one of America’s smoothest criminals. Let Charles “Doc” Baggs teach you the art of stealing from the rich, giving great speeches, and staying one step ahead of the law. What do we learn when we listen to a criminal telling his side of the story? Who shaped our understanding of the moral landscape of the American west? How cool is this dude, seriously?
Featured image: An image of Doc Baggs sent out by Dayton police. (Image source)
An 1882 newspaper article showing both Baggs’ notoriety and the public’s fondness for him. I believe the Charles Francis Adams mentioned in this article is the son of President John Quincy Adams, and the Otero mentioned in this article is the statesman Baggs scammed. (Image source)
An Omaha paper takes a less favorable stance on Baggs after he showed up in town following his exit from Denver. (Image source)
Another paper from the same year, this one from Saint Paul, which seems to have a more admiring attitude towards Baggs’ skillful deceptions. (Image source)
In 1912, a reporter is surprised that Baggs is still alive and wanted by police for a scam in Philadelphia. (Image source)
A modern news report on a fake gold bar scam.