On a sleepy afternoon in the late summer of 1895, five men on horseback entered the border town of Nogales, Arizona Territory. 


They followed the railroad tracks along Morley Avenue and made their way to the front of the International Bank.

Black Jack Christian, the leader of the gang, noticed the street was quiet. He figured Most folks were at lunch, so he gave a quick nod to the others.

Christian, along with Bob Hayes and George Musgrave, dismounted and walked into the bank on Tuesday, August 5. Christian’s brother, Bob, and Code Young stayed with the horses.

The Christian brothers were no strangers to crime.

Earlier in the summer, authorities had arrested them for killing a police officer in Guthrie, Oklahoma, but they escaped.

The brothers headed to New Mexico and Arizona territories and organized a gang called The High Fives, named after a favorite card game at the time.

The gang terrorized merchants, robbing stagecoaches, trains, post offices, small stores, and banks.

Black Jack and the other headed for Nogales when they learned about a cattle rancher in the area who planned to complete a transaction at the International Bank amounting to $10,000 and $30,000 in cash.

Once inside the bank, Black Jack chambered a cartridge into his Winchester and pointed it at Major Fred Herrera, the cashier.

Musgrave circled the counter and held bank president John Dessart at gunpoint. Hayes, meanwhile, herded all others into a back room.

While the Herrera stuffed money into a feed-bag for the outlaws, Dessart suddenly made a break for the door.

Herrera then grabbed his pistol from beneath the counter, fired, and wounded Musgrave in the knee.

When the customers and patrons in the back room heard the disturbance, they escaped through the back door. 

Black Jack Christian retrieved the bag of money but dropped it as he fled through the front door.

The foiled robbery alerted other citizens, and things turned even uglier for the High Fives.

A customs inspector by the name of Frank King, standing across from the bank, sprang into action.

He pulled his gun and began firing. The bullets missed gang members but wounded two of the horses.

Musgrave, injured and without a horse, managed to swing aboard Black Jack’s horse. A posse pursued the High Fives to Skeleton Canyon, but the gang escaped.

One member of the posse said no one knew if the gang got away with any money. But newspaper reports in Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico, said: “not a cent was lost.”

A few days later, a posse organized by Sheriff Bob Leatherwood of Tucson pursued the gang. The chase, however, ended when Bob Christian, Hayes, and Young ambushed the lawmen.

During the gunfire, Deputy Frank Robson took a bullet and died. And, once again, the High Fives succeeded in escaping.

Two years later, the gang returned to Arizona Territory and resumed robbing stagecoaches and trains.

The band now included Black Jack and his brother Bob, brothers George and Calvin Musgrave, and outlaw Sid Moore.

The five of them hid out in a desolate canyon, about twelve miles from Clifton.

On the morning of April 28, 1897, a posse of five men, headed by Deputy U.S. Marshal Fred R. Higgins of Roswell, New Mexico, spotted the gang emerging from the canyon.  

An exchange of early-morning gunfire forced the gang to flee, but one of the High Fives didn’t make it this time. 

The lawmen found Black Jack Christian face-down in the dirt, his body riddled with bullets.


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