• American West
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307


Perhaps one of The American State of California's most violent Outlaws, Procopio (as we was known), was a Cattle Thief and Murderer, active in the late 1880s. So violent in fact, that Procopio earned another nickname – that of ''Red Dick'' (on accounts of His red hair, it was said). Born in Mexico perhaps in 1841. Little of His early life is known, save He was a blood relative of another well known California Bandit, Joaquin Murrieta. As such, Procopio was taught at an early age to be a Theft and Criminal. He learned well.


Some state that it was Murrieta's ultimate fate (which we know was to have His Head inside a glass jar and displayed throughout California after His capture and execution), which may have prompted a 13 year old Procopio to ''swear revenge''. He began stealing horses from local Ranchers (Mexican or Caucasian, it made no difference). Captured, each time He beat ''The Rope'', due to lack of any real evidence. In 1863, Procopio had amassed a Gang. They attacked and slaughtered a Rancher and His Family, near The Sierra Nevada Mountains. A high Bounty was thus placed on Procopio's ''Head”.


Finally cornered in Northern California, Procopio was surrounded by Lawmen and could not escape (save drowning in a swollen and fast moving river to the rear of His position). Jumping with His Horse some 50-feet into the river, Procopio escaped (but His horse was killed). The Posse did not however – give up their quarry. Trapped finally in a marsh, after a brief gunfight – Procopio was taken into custody.


Lack of evidence quashed the Murder charge of The Ranch Family, bit enough could be garnered for Procopio to be sentenced to 9 years in state Prison at San Quentin (California). Serving His time and being released in 1872, He went right back to His ''old habits''. Forming a smaller Gang this time, Procopio turned to Cattle Rustling and Stage Robbery. Almost caught yet again, He took His profits and ran South (possibly to Mexico) – and lived a ''life of debauchery''.....for a time.


Coming back to California (San Francisco) in 1878, Procopio was arrested by local Police for former Crimes, when He was ''caught up'' in a raid of a Brothel. Tried for a long ago murder in a Card Game, Procopio went back to San Quentin for another 7 years. He was eventually paroled. In the early 1880s, Procopio went back to simple robbery (mostly of pocket monies and jewelry). Some state that He ran afoul of a mindful store owner, who hit Procopio with a Shotgun blast. In truth, nothing can really be proven. Some further claim, Procopio would escape death yet again – but as He was healing near the California/Mexican Border, an ''old grudge'' caught up to Him. He was claimed to have be shot to death by a Group of Lawmen trying to take him into custody. Others still – the event never happened. Procopio healed and faded into Western Lore.