San Luis Obispo County—the deadliest place in America back in the 1850s

Sep 27, 2017

This image is traditionally believed to be that of Pio Linares, a member of the Jack Powers outlaw gang. Linares was killed near Los Osos in 1858 during a running two-day gun battle with the San Luis Obispo Vigilance Committee. Vigilantes hanged six suspected gang members near Mission San Luis Obispo that year.
Credit The History Center of San Luis Obispo County

Historian Jim Gregory says, “California was a wild and lawless place in the 1850s, and San Luis Obispo County was no exception with the highest murder rate in America.” Outlaws and bandits passed along El Camino Real leaving a trail of victims. The James brothers, the Daltons and even Al Capone made their mark here. 

Gregory details nefarious episodes from his new book, San Luis Obispo County Outlaws: Desperados, Vigilantes and Bootleggers with correspondent, Tom Wilmer.

Credit Kornreich Design, San Luis Obispo

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