The Reno Gang

  • American West
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Credited with being the first American Western Outlaw Gang that was organized, The Reno Gang was founded by Brothers John and Frank Reno in 1864. Both Brothers were from Seymour, Indiana. Starting out in crime young, the two were ardent Confidence Men with regards to "bilking" Gamblers. The graduated to Arson and Horse Thievery, the two had to run to St. Louis, Missouri when Indiana "had enough". With the coming of The American Civil War in 1861, The Reno Brothers had stumbled upon a "money making" venture. At the time, first time Enlistee's were eligible for a monetary bounty. The Brothers entered into "Bounty Jumping" - that is Enlist in The Army, get the Bounty and run to another County  (joining again). By this time, The Reno Brothers were wanted by two States and The Federal Government. 


Returning to Indiana, The Brothers "recruited" several like minded criminals to form "The Reno Gang". They entered into high profile train robbery. The Gang did very well, and amassed quite a fortune. By 1867 however, The Pinkerton Private Detective Agency had been employed to end their careers. By this time, The Gang had grown to 12 and were always "one step ahead" of The Law. Using a "fake" Gold Shipment via Train, The Pinkerton's laid an ambush. The Gang was broken with John being captured and arrested in 1867. Released on a technicality, he was arrested again within the month for robbery and sent back to Prison for 3 more years.


Frank regrouped and with a smaller Gang headed East. Starting into Bank Robberies, Frank was captured in Upstate New York. Taken into Custody and under supposed Federal Custody, a 60-man Vigilantes Group broke into the jail, took Frank and hung him without trial. Frank is assumed to be the only Federal Prisoner ever lynched (hung).