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George Parrott, who was also known as Big Nose George, was a small time cattle rustler and highwayman in the American Wild West in the late 19th century. He was reputed to have a large nose, hence the nickname.

Big Nose and his gang enjoyed a successful career robbing freight wagons and stage coaches. In those days, all business transactions were done in cash, and coaches often carried large amounts of paper money especially during paydays.

One day back in 1878, Big Nose’s gang decided to try their luck on a Union Pacific train that was carrying payrolls for its employees. They found a lonely stretch of tracks near Medicine Bow River, in Wyoming, loosened a spike in the rails and waited for the train to arrive. But a sharp-eyed railroad employee spotted the tampered rail, repaired the damage and alerted lawmen before the train could arrive.

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This innocuous-looking pair of shoes hides a macabre secret. Photo credit: Scott Burgan/Flickr

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