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First Posted: May 8, 2010
Oct 11, 2010

Jack Dunlop, AKA John Dunlop, John Patterson, and most commonly "Three Fingered Jack"

Jack Dunlop, also known as John Dunlop, John Patterson, and most commonly "Three Fingered Jack" Dunlop (1872 - February 24, 1900) was an outlaw in the closing days of the Old West, best known for being a train robber. Whether or not he actually physically had three fingers on either of his hands has never been confirmed.

Dunlop was born in Texas, and spent most of his early life from his mid to late teens as a cowboy. How and where he first became involved in the outlaw life is uncertain, but he was arrested after several bank robberies in 1893. Released from prison in 1895, Dunlop joined the "Black Jack" Christian Gang, but by 1898 he was riding with the Burt Alvord Gang, led by Alvord, and including George and Louis Owens, Billy Stiles, Bravo Juan Yoas, and Bob Brown. The gang began hitting trains in Arizona, with success, and with "Three Fingered Jack" Dunlop quickly becoming the best known of the bunch. At midnight on September 9, 1899, the gang robbed a Southern Pacific Express for just over $10,000. During that robbery, the gang had detached the car containing the money, then opened the safe by way of dynamite. The gang then escaped into the Chiricahua Mountains, and a posse led by Sheriff Scott White and including George Scarborough was unsuccessful in their pursuit.

A few months later, the gang struck again. On February 15, 1900, the gang hit a train at the Fairbank Spur, which served Tombstone, Arizona. Noted and well known lawman Jeff Davis Milton was working as a guard on that train. A gunfight between Milton and the five gang members ensued, resulting in Milton shooting buckshot into the stomach of Dunlop, while shooting and wounding gang member Juan Yoas. Milton was badly wounded in the right arm during the gun battle. Not aware that Milton was so badly injured, the gang fled.