Naoma Eidson

Naoma Eidson

Modified & Updated: 09 Sep 2023


Black Bart, also known as Charles Boles, was one of the most notorious outlaws in the Old West. With his distinctive black attire and imposing presence, he struck fear into the hearts of stagecoach passengers and became a legend in his own right. Born in England in 1829, Bart found himself drawn to a life of crime, and he quickly became known for his daring stagecoach robberies. In this article, we will explore 19 fascinating facts about Black Bart, shedding light on both his criminal exploits and his enigmatic persona. From his mysterious motives to his uncanny ability to elude capture, Black Bart’s story is one that continues to captivate historians and Western enthusiasts alike. So buckle up and get ready to uncover the captivating world of Black Bart, the notorious outlaw of the Old West.

Table of Contents

Black Bart was a notorious stagecoach robber.

Known as the “Gentleman Bandit,” Black Bart gained infamy in the late 1800s for robbing stagecoaches throughout California.

His real name was Charles Earl Bowles.

Black Bart operated under the alias Black Bart but his true identity was Charles Earl Bowles.

He targeted Wells Fargo stagecoaches.

Black Bart focused his robberies on stagecoaches operated by Wells Fargo, which was a prominent transportation and banking company at the time.

He wore a signature outfit during his robberies.

Black Bart was known for wearing a long black coat, a bowler hat, and a flour sack with holes cut out for his eyes, making him easily recognizable.

Black Bart never killed anyone during his robberies.

Despite his criminal activities, Black Bart had a strict policy of avoiding violence. He believed in committing robberies without causing harm to the passengers or drivers.

He left behind poems at the robbery scenes.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Black Bart’s crimes was his habit of leaving behind poetry at the sites of his robberies. These poems often taunted law enforcement.

Black Bart committed 28 stagecoach robberies.

During his criminal career, Black Bart successfully carried out 28 stagecoach robberies, accumulating a sizable fortune in stolen money and valuables.

He operated primarily in California.

Black Bart’s robberies were concentrated in California, with most of them taking place in the northern part of the state.

Black Bart eluded capture for several years.

Despite his notoriety, Black Bart managed to evade capture for almost a decade, leaving law enforcement baffled by his ability to escape detection.

He was eventually caught due to a laundry mark.

In 1883, Black Bart was finally apprehended after he left behind a handkerchief with a laundry mark on it, which led investigators to his hotel room.

Black Bart was sentenced to prison but was released early.

After being convicted of his crimes, Black Bart was sentenced to six years in San Quentin Prison. However, he was released after serving just four years.

Upon his release, Black Bart disappeared.

After regaining his freedom, Black Bart vanished from public view, and little is known about his activities or whereabouts following his release from prison.

Many legends and stories surround Black Bart.

Black Bart’s mysterious persona and daring robberies have given rise to numerous legends and stories, making him a legendary figure of the Old West.

Black Bart’s life inspired books and movies.

His life and crimes have been the inspiration for several books and movies, retelling the story of this audacious stagecoach robber.

Black Bart became a folk hero figure.

Despite his criminal activities, Black Bart gained a certain level of respect and admiration among the public, who saw him as a symbol of defiance against the wealthy elite.

He never fired a single shot during his robberies.

In line with his non-violent approach, Black Bart never resorted to the use of firearms during his stagecoach robberies.

Black Bart had a knack for escaping pursuit.

His cunning and strategic planning allowed Black Bart to successfully flee the scenes of his crimes, often without leaving any trace of his whereabouts.

The exact amount stolen by Black Bart remains unknown.

Due to the nature of his crimes and the inability to accurately track all his robberies, the total amount stolen by Black Bart remains a mystery.

Black Bart’s ultimate fate is uncertain.

After his disappearance from public view, the final years of Black Bart’s life remain shrouded in mystery, leaving historians and enthusiasts to speculate on his fate.

Black Bart, the infamous stagecoach robber, left an indelible mark on the history of the American West. With his gentlemanly demeanor, poetic taunts, and audacious heists, he captured the imagination of the public and became a legendary figure. Throughout his career, Black Bart demonstrated a unique blend of cunning, non-violence, and theatrical flair that set him apart from other outlaws of his time. While many questions still surround his life and ultimate fate, his legacy as the “Gentleman Bandit” lives on.


Black Bart, also known as Charles E. Boles, was a notorious stagecoach robber who operated in California during the late 1800s. His mysterious persona, elaborate disguises, and poetic robbery notes made him an intriguing figure in the Wild West.Despite his criminal activities, Black Bart was never involved in any acts of violence or harm towards his victims. He maintained a gentlemanly demeanor during his robberies and was known for his polite behavior. Ultimately, he was captured in 1883 and served a prison sentence before being released.Black Bart’s legacy lives on as one of the most fascinating outlaws in American history. His unique approach to stagecoach robbery and his captivating personality continue to captivate the imaginations of people to this day.


Q: Who was Black Bart?

A: Black Bart, whose real name was Charles E. Boles, was a famous stagecoach robber who operated in California during the late 1800s.

Q: Was Black Bart a violent criminal?

A: Surprisingly, Black Bart was known for his non-violent methods. He never harmed his victims during his robberies.

Q: Did Black Bart ever get caught?

A: Yes, Black Bart was eventually captured in 1883. He served a prison sentence and was released later.

Q: What made Black Bart unique?

A: Black Bart stood out for his elaborate disguises and poetic robbery notes. He was known for his gentlemanly behavior during his robberies.

Q: Is Black Bart still remembered today?

A: Yes, Black Bart’s legacy lives on as one of the most intriguing outlaws in American history. His story continues to captivate people’s imaginations.