On 5 Nov 1871, 7 passengers boarded a stagecoach in Wickenburg and headed for California. Only 2 of them would survive the journey. Only an hour after the stagecoach set off, it was attacked, and 5 passengers and the driver were murdered. One of the survivors, William Kruger, stated that a ‘band of Indians’ had attacked the stagecoach. The other survivor, Mollie Sheppard, believed that ‘Mexican bandits’ were to blame for the killings.
This led to General George Crook sending an officer to investigate the claims. The conclusion was that raiders at Date Creek were to blame. This in turn led to an attempt on Crook’s life, to which his cavalry responded by killing around forty Indians. Crook also forced many Yavapais and Tonto Apaches residents to relocate to San Carlos Apache Reservation.
The real culprits were never found, and many theories saw the light as the years went by. Some believed white criminals dressed up as Indians and attacked the stagecoach. Others were wont to look upon the two survivors with suspicion: they may just have robbed the stagecoach themselves and killed the other passengers to make it seem as though Indians were responsible.
The mystery remains.