Monday, December 21, 2009
Mail Truck Robbery nets $120,000
It was an early morning in Charlotte - the date was Nov. 15, 1933. A mail deliveryman making his rounds pulls his truck into a dirt side street as a black car screeches to a halt just beside him. Several men jump out - one of them is armed with a submachine gun. He points the weapon at the delivery driver and orders him out of the truck. In less than two minutes, they commit the
largest robbery to date in Carolina history, getting away with an
estimated $120,000. The robbers were members of a Chicago gang - the Touhy Gang - on the lamb from Illinois police and trying to scrape up money to defend the gang's leader in an upcoming kidnapping trial. Then Charlotte Police Chief Frank N. Littlejohn blew the lid off the case when he uncovered the gang's hideout in Charlotte and tracked them back to a Chicago address by piecing together bits
of paper from a garbage can. Gangsters Basil "The Owl" Banghart, Ludwig "Dutch" Schmidt, Charles "Ice" Connors and Isaac Costner. Connors was later found dead in a Chicago suburb clutching a penny (a gangland symbol for betrayal). Banghart was later sentenced to 36 years in prison, Costner turned state's evidence and got five years, while Schmidt was given 32 years, with his sentence later reduced.
Commando-like Gang invades downtown Belk
Late Saturday evening on April 1, 1967, Onan Smith Sr. was making the
rounds of the sprawling old downtown Belk Store, that once stood where the Bank of America Corporate Center is today.
Smith had just finished the first floor when three men suddenly appeared before him. The store was already closed for the evening so Smith thought it was
particularly odd that the men had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. He didn't notice the fourth man behind him, who knocked him unconscious with the barrel of a gun before he had a chance to react.
While he was still unconscious, the men dragged Smith up a stairwell
to the fourth floor and handcuffed him to the staircase railing. Smith wouldn't regain consciousness for a few hours.
During that time, the well-organized gang of thieves used acetylene
torches to cut into a large walk-in vault and three other smaller safes. In the jewelry department they ripped open another safe and a wooden cabinet. According to police, they would walk away with as much as $200,000 in cash and $13,000 in furs and jewelry. According to John McCaskill, a former manager of the
downtown store, the case was never solved. "That was a long time
ago," McCaskill recalled. "But for the time, it was quite a sum of money."
Serial Arsonist: Charlotte's Lounge scene goes up in Flames
Over a five-year period in Charlotte, North Carolina, from 1971-76,
numerous nightclubs throughout the city were torched systematically, all using a similar method of soaking the club’s interiors with kerosene or gasoline. Among the businesses to be burned: The Purple Penguin, The Scorpio Lounge, the C’est Bon, the Carrousel Lounge,
the Soul Train and a host of others. Local nightclub owners are fearful of a so-called "protection racket" that is extorting business owners for money — so they won’t be burned out. Others suggest that rival bar owners are simply trying to squash competition — and that it’s gotten out of control. A handful of the
cases are solved but most remain open. Several owners refuse to speak
publicly for fear of reprisal.
Captured in Charlotte: one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted
In 1972 Willie Foster Sellers drifted into Charlotte. His criminal
career dated back to the 1950s, when he liked to break into small town banks after business hours and clean them out. He had also had numerous syndicate crime connections that may have provided him contract murder jobs.
Charlotte proved to be a small enough town at the time that Sellers
was hopeful about potential "jobs" he'd yet to pull off. On January 31, 1973, however, he made the mistake of driving after having too much to drink and was arrested by Officers H.C. Dozier and F.G. Finch.
The two had no idea they had one of the FBI's ten most wanted on their hands, especially when he produced a Tennessee driver's license with the name of Sylvester Frank Cash. Sellers was cooperative with the policeman under the guise of Cash,even after he failed his sobriety test. He was strangely insistent that he wanted to put his bottle of Vodka in the trunk of his car. Dozier and Finch refused his request - informing him that it would be held as
A few hours later, Dozier received a call from the wrecker company
that towed Sellers' car – in the trunk they discovered a machine gun and a thirty-caliber carbine altered to accept a silencer.
Although Sellers was scheduled to be released, Dozier quickly made a
call to put that on hold. Realizing he had more than just a drunk driver on his hands, he contacted the FBI, who informed Dozier he'd captured William Foster Sellers, who held a special place on the FBI's Ten Most
The agent said that Sellers had vowed he'd never be taken alive and Dozier remembered Seller's insistence about putting the vodka in the trunk - the same trunk that held a fully loaded machine gun.
Sellers eventually came to trial in Charlotte where he was convicted
of federal firearms violations. The hearings were marked by intense publicity and heady security for fear of any of Sellers' associates lurking nearby.
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a swami-like guru whose teachings included,
"sex is fun, materialism is good and Jesus was a madman," and the claim that he was "the world's greatest lover," was catapulted into the international media eye when his followers successfully took over and renamed the Oregon town of Antelope "The City of Rajneesh."
In 1985, an effort to strengthen their control of the city, Rajneeshees infected salad bars of several restaurants in the town with salmonella, just before election day, in an attempt to make everyone but their own people too sick to vote, so that the Rajneeshees could take over thecounty government. Reportedly more than 750 people were affected.
After all that drama Rajneesh decided it was time to leave Oregon, and quick. Along the way, he made one fatal error - his plane landed in Charlotte for refueling before heading to Bermuda, where he was intercepted and arrested by U.S. Immigration authorities. At the bail hearings the controversial Rajneesh was shown in chains and handcuffs, even further focusing the world's eye on Charlotte.
Following his conviction, Under the deal his lawyers made with the United States Attorney's office, he was given a 10-year suspended sentence, placed on five years' probation and ordered to pay $400,000 in fines and prosecution costs; in addition, he agreed to leave the United States and not to return for at least five years. In 1987 he changed his name to Osho and returned to Pune, where he intially began his spiritual journey. On January 9, 1990, Osho died, reportedly of heart failure, though the belief that he died from AIDS-related causes has been widely speculated.
The PTL Scandal
From 1984 to 1987, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and their associates offered life-time partnerships to fund the building of facilities at Heritage USA, a Christian
holiday and activity center in Fort Mill, South Carolina. In return for their financial support, the partners were promised free lodging at Heritage USA, if space was available. However, the organization could not keep its promises towards them and was accused of deliberately refraining from building sufficient
lodging space for regular guests plus Lifetime Partners. One of the most important allegations was that they oversold, which constituted fraud. After reporters at the Charlotte Observer, led by Charles Shepard, discovered the financial wrongdoings, Bakker was put on trial and resigned from his position at PTL. All of that scandal was only enhanced by the appearance of Jessica
Hahn, a woman who claimed that she and Bakker had been sexually involved.
Judge Robert Potter convicted Bakker of fraud and conspiring to commit fraud and sentenced him to 45 years in prison. He served almost 5 years in prison and was
paroled for good behavior in 1993. In 1992 he and his wife Tammy Faye were divorced at her request.
In 2004 Bakker authored a second book, entitled “I Survived (And You Can, Too),” and made an appearance on the reality show “The Surreal Life.” Sadly, Tammy Faye succumbed to colon and lung cancer on July 20, 2007.
In 2003, Jim Bakker began broadcasting a new evangelical ministry program called “The Jim Bakker Show.” As of 2008, Bakker and other followers had moved into a new 600-acre studio that resembles his former headquarters in Heritage USA, just outside of Charlotte in Fort Mill, S.C.
The Hillbilly Heist
It was late in the evening - October 4, 1997. David Scott Ghantt, who
had worked with Loomis Fargo since 1994, proceeded to load $17 million into the back of a company van, and take off for parts unknown.
He cooked up the scheme with former Loomis Fargo employee Kelly Campbell, who actually got the ball rolling when she told Ghantt about a friend who had criminal connections, and could help them with the job.
Campbell's friend - Steve Chambers - would handle things in Charlotte while Ghantt would go to Mexico to hide out. It was obvious even to this bumbling criminal threesome that Loomis Fargo would quickly determine who was behind the heist.
With Ghantt in Mexico, Chambers and his wife Michelle began spending
the cash openly. They stashed it in barrels, storage units and had friends and family members rent safety deposit boxes to store money. In almost blatant disregard for the intelligence of investigators, the former mobile home dwellers moved to a house valued at more than $600,000. Ghantt continued to languish in Mexico, having spent most of the $25,000 he took with him to a Cancun Resort. He insisted that Chambers send more money, while Chambers was actually plotting
to have Ghantt killed.
Investigators almost immediately identified Ghantt as the man who stole the money and later connected him to Campbell and Chambers. Eventually, the FBI arrested
more than 20 people. Almost all of the stolen cash was located or accounted for and all those arrested were convicted. The story led to national media attention, a handful of TV documentaries, a book and a film.
NASCAR team co-owner Felix Sabates' home torched
In the early morning hours of July 31, 2000, a 2.5 million dollar home under construction for NASCAR team co-owner Felix Sabates was destroyed by fire.
Investigators determine that it was intentionally set and may be connected to 12 other unsolved arson cases in high-end development areas. By March 2004 authorities, with no significant leads, ask the public for help in solving
the suspicious fires that have destroyed or heavily damaged homes
under construction in the various upscale neighborhoods.
According to a story in the Charlotte Observer, some believe it could
be the work of an "ecoterrorist" while others think it might be someone with a vendetta against a particular developer. The cases remain open.
In 1989 in a Los Angeles bankruptcy court, then twenty-three-year-old
Andrew Reyes listed debts of $12,807. He had $183 in cash, $200 worth of clothes and an '87 Nissan. After declaring bankruptcy, he somehow managed to get a new Social Security number, which, under most circumstances, is illegal. That new number - in effect - cleared his credit record. A short time later, he moved to Charlotte, N.C.
In less than 10 years, Reyes rose from an accounting temp worker to a philanthropist who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to nonprofit and political groups. Along the way, he hobnobbed with TV stars and the President of the United States.
As authorities began to question Reyes' sudden rise in income, he abruptly disappeared. At first it was thought to be a missing persons case, but Reyes was later tracked down and arrested as he crossed the border from Mexico to California.
After admitting he diverted $3.6 million to himself between 1998 and 2000 from his late employer Douglas King, Reyes pleaded guilty to 15 counts of bank fraud, three counts of income tax evasion and a single count of conspiracy to commit income tax evasion. He was given a five-year sentence, with time served in the Mecklenburg County jail accepted, which he served in Kentucky. As of 2007 he was released and on parole.
Hezbollah in Charlotte
At first it sounded like a run of the mill smuggling case - but closer inspection revealed a more sinister plot that suddenly focused international media
attention on the Queen City. In February 2003, 29-year-old Lebanese national Mohamad Hammoud was convicted and sentenced on charges of running cigarettes from North Carolina to Michigan and funneling the proceeds to help fuel Hezbollah, the Islamic, Lebanon-based, anti-Israeli terrorist army. For his crime, Hammoud
was sentenced to 155 years in prison. Federal prosecutors are
convinced he was a young extremist militant before he gained entry to the U.S. through Venezuela in 1992 with a $200 fake visa.
They maintain that he stayed in the U.S. by entering into multiple phony marriages to American women - all the while still engaged to another woman in Lebanon.
This article originally appeared in Charlotte Magazine.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Captain Francis Bradley
Captain Francis Bradley, a member of the Mecklenburg Militia during the Revolutionary War and considered by many to be "the strongest man around" was a well-respected citizen of Charlotte in 1780. When the British were on their retreat from Charlotte four of Colonel Samuel Bryan's Tory soldiers agreed to desert and go home by travelling at night and hiding in forested areas during the day. The foursome had found just such a place about a mile from Bradley's house the morning of October 14. About mid day Bradley took his gun and went out to look for some missing cattle and stumbled across two of the fleeing soldiers. Bradley questioned them and finally took them prisoners. The other two, who had remained undiscovered, attacked Bradley from behind. A violent scuffle ensued, until one of them got Bradley's own gun and shot him dead. A few weeks after his murderers escaped home, two were killed, the others were arrested and sent to a Salisbury jail. On trial, a John McCombs turned State's evidence and was spared. The other conspirator was hanged.
George Cutter/Delete Nycum
George King Cutter was a millionaire real estate developer accused of murdering his mistress, Delette Nycum in July of 1961. According to reports in the Charlotte Observer, Cutter and Nycum had maintained an affair since 1948. Their relationship had began to sour when Nycum was discovered beaten to death in a bus that Cutter had converted into a rolling apartment of sorts. He used the bus for family vacations and apparent tete-a-tetes.On trial for Nycum's murder, Cutter testified that he had parked the apartment bus near a suburban airport and had left Nycum inside while he returned home. A few hours later, he claimed, he became worried and returned to the bus, only to find Nycum dead. He also admitted that he and the dead woman's son had moved the body from the bus back to Nycum's Seventh St. apartment "to avoid scandal" and that "for no particular reason" he had burned the dress she was wearing, but he steadfastly maintained his innocence in her death.Nycum's death was particularly unsavory. Literally beaten to death, the coroner stated that she had died from "shock and external violence." A total of 251 bruises were found on her body.Despite evidence to the contrary, Cutter is found not guilty. His career, however is immeasurably damaged. He dies rejected by Charlotte society at the age of 53 in 1965. Delete Nycum's murder was never solved.
The name Denise Porch may not be familiar to some Charlotte residents - but long time Charlotteans will recall the story surrounding the young apartment manager easily. During a hot summer afternoon on July 31, 1975, Porch, manager of the Yorktown Apartments on Tyvola Road, was showing an apparent prospective tenant around the property. This was nothing unusual - Porch frequently gave tours of the site to prospective tenants. It was unusual, however, that Porch never returned after showing the property. Porch also resided in Yorktown, but a search uncovered no signs of a struggle inside her residence - and she left all of her personal belongings behind, including her vehicle and her purse, suggesting that she never returned to her home. Charlotteans and Americans nationwide were held captive by the national media attention that resulted from her disappearance. Quite literally, she vanished and was never seen again. Continued extensive searches produce no further clues as to Porch's whereabouts. In 1982, her family had her declared legally deceased, just seven years after her disappearance. In the mid-1980s a neighbor that lived a few hundred yards from the Yorktown Apartments came under suspicion for Porch's murder. Larry Gene Bell was found guilty of the murders of two young women from North Carolina in 1985 and sentenced to death. He maintained his innocence in Porch's case and was never formally charged in connection with her disappearance, but Porch physically resembled Bell's other victims and authorities believe he was responsible for her death. Bell was executed by the state in 1996. The question remains over 30 years later - where is Denise Porch's body?
Outlaws Motorcycle Massacre
Referred to as the worst mass murder in Charlotte history, four members of the Charlotte chapter of the Outlaws motorcycle gang and a visiting friend were gunned down as they slept on July 4, 1979. According to police, the scenario probably went something like this: two suspects weilding a 9mm and a 223 semi-automatic fired aproximately 40 shots. A guard on the front porch of the house - William "Waterhead" Allen - was likely awake and talking to the suspects when they opened fire. The four others inside the house - Outlaw members William "Mouse" Droneneburg, Randall Feazell, Leonard "Terrible Terry" Henderson and their friend, 19-year-old Bridgette Benfield - probably awoke to the sound of gunfire, but were unable to react quickly enough to escape. Police believe the massacre took less than 15 seconds total. The unsolved case is still open in Charlotte Police Homicide files and is reviewed as new information is received.
Kim Thomas was a prominent activist with the National Organization for Women (NOW) when she was murdered - her throat slashed - in her spacious southeast Charlotte home on July 27, 1990. Her husband, Dr. Edward Friedland immediately fell under suspicion and was charged with murder. The chargers, however, were abruptly dropped when a key witness's testimony was disallowed .In March 2003, an article published in the Charlotte Observer uncovered some startling bits of information from archives that had been previously sealed. The month before the murder, Friedland had asked an anesthesiologist about a paralytic drug and whether it could be detected. The court papers, many from confidential police files, examine Friedland's two-year affair and a troubled marriage he didn't think he could escape without great expense. The documents further revealed that Friedland talked of murdering his wife and contain an allegation that he made a joke about his wife after her death. None of that evidence was enough to convict Friedland and charges were dropped in 1995.
In 1997 Friedland filed civil charges against Marion Gales (who had worked for Thomas as a gardener) and was a chief suspect during the initial investigation. After evidence presented in a wrongful death suit, a judge ordered Gales pay Friedland 8.5 million dollars. In 2009, Gales, who has been in and out of prison most of his life, was allowed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of LaCoya Monique Martin. Currently serving an eight-year and nine-month sentence at the Tabor Correctional Institute in Tabor City, N.C., He is expected to be released in 2016. Gales maintains he did not kill Thomas and the case remains unsolved.
Nobles & Burnette
Charlotte was wrought with pain over the deaths of two young police officers in October, 1993. Anthony Alford Nobles, 26, and John Thomas Burnette, 27, chased a suspect into the woods of West Charlotte the evening of October 5. Officers who arrived to back them up a few minutes later were stunned at their discovery: both men were dead - shot in the head. They were the first Charlotte police officers in Charlotte history to die together in such a manner. In the reaction that followed, residents struggled to understand while high school students raised money to buy bullet-proof vests for police. Recreational facilities in the inner-city community the officers served were dedicated to their memory. Arrested for their murders was then 32-year-old Alden J. Hardin, who had felony arrest records dating back to the mid-1980s. Hardin was convicted less than a year later for their deaths and is currently awaiting execution in North Carolina's Central Prison.
Henry Louis Wallace
In a 1994 Time magazine article on serial killings, called "Dances With Werewolves," author Anastasia Toufexis says of Wallace, "Women, taken with his sweet smile, solicitous attitude and pleasant looks, trusted him...They invited him to their homes for dinner, watched while he cradled their babies in his arms, accepted his invitations to date." Wallace was responsible for the death of nine young black women in Charlotte, North Carolina, between 1992 and 1994, who were raped and strangled to death. Wallace was sentenced to death and now awaits execution at Raleigh's Central Prison. In the years that have followed since his arrest and conviction, he has continued to be forthcoming about additional murders he committed, but has not been charged with. If Wallace is to be believed, then he may have committed as many as 20 murders across the world while he was on naval duty in various ports of call. Public Defender Isabell Day, who represented Wallace at trial, said of her client, "He is very sick, very mentally ill."
Sometime after 2:00 a.m. on March 29, 1997, Kim Medlin, a dancer at a Charlotte area nighclub, left her place of employment in her red Jeep with black-and-white cowhide seat covers and drove towards her home. She never completed the trip.Medlin's body was discovered the following day, partially covered by a pallet, some roofing shingles and brush. Her bra was up above her breasts, her sweatshirt was inside out, pulled over her head and wrapped around her wrists or lower arms. Later an autopsy would reveal abrasions on her knees consistent with her falling to the pavement, long scratches consistent with her body having been dragged, abrasions on the front of the neck and pinpoint hemorrhages in her eyes, all consistent with strangulation.Who would commit such a heinous crime? As it turns out - it was one of the men you're supposed to trust the most: a policeman. In this case, it was Josh Griffin, a Monroe policeman in training who'd noticed the attractive woman as she traveled from work to her home in Monroe, taking the same route almost methodically every night.Griffin was found guilty of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
Ask any Charlottean about Rae Carruth and they'll easily recall the murderous story surrounding the third-year player for the NFL's Carolina Panthers. Speculation as to his motives for what transpired are generally the first topic of conversation: uncertainty about his career, money problems and the pregnancy of Cherica Adams.Described by the press as "Carruth's girlfriend," Adams was, without doubt, one of many.Carruth was not supportive of Adams, nor the impending birth of her baby. He was even less thrilled by the financial and emotional pressure the baby would put on his shoulders. According to police reports, Adams was critically wounded in a drive-by shooting while in her car. Carruth wasn't the shooter, but he was nearby and in car-phone communication with three men in the car from which she'd allegedly been shot. All four men were arrested for conspiracy to commit murder. Recorded cell phone conversations between Adams and a 911 Operator made the story even more sensational, as television news watchers were allowed to hear Adams screaming accusatory epitaphs at Carruth after she had been shot. Carruth was convicted of murder conspiracy in the shooting death of Adams, shooting into an occupied vehicle and using a gun to try to kill the baby she was carrying. Currently he is serving a sentence of at least 18 years and 11 months.
Freeman, a.k.a Aretha Scott, was an occasional drag performer in Charlotte's gay club scene and a well-liked employee at the dog groomer Posh Pets. It was no secret that he'd been known to turn tricks on the side for extra cash and that he'd done time for drug-related charges.It was his choice of tricks - a police officer - that may have eventually led to his death. According to a story in Creative Loafing, at about 3:30 am on January 8, off-duty vice officer Michael Marlow, who'd just come from a drinking party in the police parking deck hosted by his comrades on the vice squad, drove off with beer still in his car. Marlow headed for the North Davidson Street area where he eventually picked up Freeman, who was working as a prostitute that night. It is unclear what exactly transpired next, but apparently during an argument with Freeman over money Marlow fired his police gun twice. Freeman was jailed that night, although the charges were later dropped and officers involved in his arrest were either suspended or fired. Then, just five days before he was scheduled to testify at a police hearing surrounding the event, Freeman was found murdered on a North Church Street sidewalk. He had apparently bled to death from gunshots to the leg.To date, the case remains open and Freeman's death is still a mystery that captured more media attention for the drag diva than any stage performance.
This article originally appeared in Charlotte Magazine.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The sky is gray today. A small crowd of
60 or so – mostly employees and customers of the
Wilkinson Boulevard Park ‘n Shop grocery store – are
gathered around a small plot in Charlotte’s Forest
Lawn Cemetery. They have come to bid farewell to their
friends and co-workers, Violet and Daisy Hilton.
The date is Wednesday, January 8, 1969.
It is a particularly turbulent time in American
history. Just months prior Martin Luther King Jr. and
Robert Kennedy met their demise from an assassin’s
bullet. Democratic President Lyndon Johnson has been
replaced in the White House by Republican Richard
Nixon, and the nation is struggling with the issue of
public school desegregation. Amidst the hoopla of the
holiday season, the country is caught in the grips of
an epidemic known as the Hong Kong flu.
The strange illness, a virus of avian descent thought
to be transmitted through chickens and poultry
products, will lay claim to more than 34,000. In
Charlotte the Hilton twins are among the victims.
Most longtime Charlotte residents know at least a
little about the history of Violet and Daisy Hilton.
Among west side natives, it’s become something of a
“They attended Purcell United Methodist,” recalls John
Sills, who also presided over their funeral. “I was
their minister for a time. They were very good people.
I visited them often at Park ‘n Shop, and upon
occasion, at their home. They didn’t talk much about
the past and their careers, but we had some pleasant
Once heralded vaudeville and sideshow performers, the
twosome performed around the globe with the likes of
Bob Hope and appeared in the films “Freaks” and
“Chained for Life.”
Born February 5, 1908 they captured acclaim for their singing, dancing and
clarinet playing. They attracted attention – and lots
of it – because they were conjoined twins. Attached at
the hip and fused at the base of the spine, they
shared some blood vessels but maintained predominantly
separate circulatory systems.
From their meager beginnings – an abusive guardian
purchased them from an unwed barmaid and exhibited
them in carnivals – to scandalous marriages for both
that ended disastrously, sensation and press attention
followed them throughout their lives.
It was late July of 1962 when the Hiltons arrived in
Charlotte. They’d been here before – performing at the
old Carolina Theater in 1945 – but this time they were
traveling around the south promoting a re-release of
the 1932 film “Freaks.” The movie had sparked major
controversy – even banned in some areas upon its
initial release – because of a cast that included real
circus sideshow performers, or “freaks” as they were
called at the time. Violet and Daisy were two of the
more noteworthy cast members.
“They were here for a screening at a drive-in,”
recalls Brenda Scott, an owner and manager at Park ‘n
Shop and the daughter of Charles Reid, the now-retired
President of the company that would later hire the
Hiltons in September of that year. “Their manager left
and promised to return for them. He never came back.”
Stranded at a motel in Monroe, they eventually made
their way to Charlotte’s west side and the Huffman
Trailer Park on Wilkinson Boulevard. It was the
trailer park’s owner that contacted Charles Reid about
work for the Hiltons.
“Violet and Daisy came in here for their groceries a
few times before they inquired about a job,” recalls
Reid, now 82. “I knew who the Hilton sisters were, I’d
seen ads and stories about them before – but I didn’t
realize they were the same people who were asking me
for a job.
“They told me they could mop my floors and stock my
shelves and do just about anything I needed around the
store, and I’d only have to pay for one of them.”
Reid paints a picture of two wildly untamed show
people who found their way to his doorstep that
September day. Both standing less than five feet tall,
they were decked out in somewhat disheveled stage
wear, open-toed sandals that exposed nails painted
crimson red and they sported dye jobs of opposing hues
(at the time Violet was brunette and Daisy was blond).
The two captured more attention for their fashion
sensibilities than their unique physical state.
Reid promised he would consider their offer and would
contact them the following day.
“I went home that night and thought about it quite a
bit,” Reid says. “I thought, what can I do with these
two women? I wanted to help them, but I wasn’t quite
sure what kind of job I could offer them. I didn’t
know how well my customers would take to the sight of
the two of them together cleaning the floor.”
Then Reid remembered Park ‘n Shop’s produce section at
the back of the store. At the time people lined up to
have their vegetables and fruits weighed and priced.
The area consisted of two counters that ran parallel
to one another – but it seemed a simple enough matter
to turn them into a V shape, just like Violet and
If you were looking directly at the Hilton sisters,
Violet was on the left and Daisy was on the right –
Violet’s left hip joined Daisy’s right. They could
easily stand practically back-to-back, but usually
formed a sort of V shape.
Reid agreed to hire the women for the position, but
there were a few issues they had to discuss first. “I
told them their hair had to be the same color and that
they would need to get rid of the long nails and their
stage clothes – they couldn’t wear them to work.” Reid
also made it clear that he would pay them both.
Reid’s wife Larue later took them shopping for skirts
and to get their hair done. He provided them with the
standard-issue red and white check button shirts that
all the employees wore. “After my wife came back with
them from the beauty parlor they looked pretty good,”
Reid says. “Very pretty.”
The Hiltons meshed quickly and quietly into the local
population. They developed bonds of friendship with
fellow employees and customers, as well as members of
Purcell United Methodist, but their involvement with
the community beyond that was next to nil.
“They did very little outside of work, home and
occasionally going to church,” Reid offers. “I think
they had led a very active life and they just wanted
to be left alone.”
His favorite recollection of the Hilton sisters? Their
response to neighborhood children. “They didn’t really
like kids too much because they would stare,” Reid
chuckles. “Sometimes they would get right up next to
Daisy and Violet to try and see where they were
connected. Some even tried to look under their dress.
“I’d be in another part of the store but I could still
hear it – that slapping noise as Daisy or Violet would
pop some little boy on the head because he got too
close. You’d just hear that pop and some
kid would take off running.”
After a few months in the rundown trailer park off
Wilkinson Boulevard the two women grew weary of their
living situation. Reid approached his church about a
small home that was owned by Purcell United Methodist
– adjacent to the property. The sisters rented the
two-bedroom house immediately.
Despite the fact they moved away from Huffman’s mobile
home park, they had developed a fondness for the
restaurant Tanzy’s – just a few feet from their
trailer’s front door – and apparently had struck up
somewhat of a friendship with owner John Tanzy.
“It’s not at all surprising,” says Robert Tanzy, son
of the late owner. “My dad was just that kind of a
guy. He was pretty unusual himself and he liked to get
to know people.”
Robert Tanzy remembers Violet and Daisy in much the
same way as their other friends do – quiet and
amiable. “They usually ordered burgers or sandwiches,
and they always had one particular booth they liked to
sit in when it was available. It was the first booth
right beside the door.”
Moving into the small house on the corner of Weyland
and Greenland Avenue proved to be one of the Hilton’s
crowning moments while living in Charlotte. Reid
convinced his friend Archie Moore, who ran Clinton’s
Furniture in downtown Charlotte, to provide the
sisters with some donated furniture. Violet and Daisy
settled happily into their new digs along with a
mixed-breed lab and a pet bird.
Once the Hiltons were somewhat financially solvent
again, they never hesitated to share what they had
with those around them.
“It’s true,” recalls John Sills. “They were always
giving stuff away.” In an interview with the Charlotte
News in 1969, Sills elaborated. “Every Christmas they
would buy expensive gifts for some of the customers of
the store. Even this Christmas when they were sick,
they sent their presents to the store to be passed
According to Reid, the Hiltons had a stellar
attendance record at their job with Park ‘n Shop.
“They were very rarely sick and hardly ever missed
work,” he emphasizes. “So we were worried when they
were so sick they couldn’t come to work.
“Violet was the first to get sick,” Reid continues.
“Just as she started to get better, Daisy caught it.”
It was the Hong Kong flu – a
particularly nasty virus that could wreak havoc on a
body by inflaming all the internal organs. Although it
didn’t have a very high mortality rate and most people
who caught it recovered, individuals 60 and over were
at higher risk. Daisy and Violet were just about to
“We called just about every day to check on them,”
Reid recalls. “Sometimes when they didn’t want to be
bothered they wouldn’t answer the phone, but that
Saturday morning we tried calling every hour and
nobody answered the phone.
“I knew they hadn’t gone out of town or anything
because they didn’t know anybody to go visit, so we
decided to go over to the house and check on them.”
With the aid of Reverend Sills and the Charlotte
Police, Reid had the front door forced open. Inside,
lying on the furnace grate in the hallway, were Violet
and Daisy. In an apparent attempt to stay warm in the
final throws of the Hong Kong flu, the two had managed
to drag themselves over to the vent.
It was Saturday, January 4, 1969. Violet and Daisy
Hilton were dead at the age of 60.
Reid handled the details that followed. Hankins and
Whittington Funeral Home recovered the bodies – both
were buried in a single oversized casket in a plot
owned by Reid.
An attempt to find any survivors to claim the $1200 or
so they had left behind proved to be fruitless. After
the bills were paid Reid donated the remaining cash to
the Charlotte Mecklenburg school system.
Inside the house was very little – just the furniture
they had acquired since their arrival years earlier.
In one of the bedroom dressers Reid and Sills
discovered a handful of old photos from the Hilton’s
film and stage careers, as well as a few letters
detailing the difficulties they had experienced.
“From the letters, it seemed the sisters were
constantly being duped by managers who couldn’t find
jobs for them,” Sills said in the 1969 interview with
the Charlotte News. “They were always ending up in
hotels without any money in a strange town, with the
hotel manager growing more and more impatient.
“They weren’t exactly treated very well in the
entertainment business,” Sills says today. “That’s why
I think they were so happy here because they were able
to live quiet, normal lives, and people accepted them
the way they were.”
If you’d like to see the Hilton Sisters in
performance, order “Chained For Life” from Rhino Home
Video or Amazon.com. It’s a low budget, black and
white film-noirish b pic about conjoined twin sisters
in show business. One sister (Daisy) marries a cad and
the other (Violet) later offs him with his own pistol.
The story ends with the judge pondering their fate as
he realizes that if the guilty sister goes to prison,
so does the innocent one. Judging from this film, the
Hilton Sisters never really had an opportunity to
refine their acting skills, but they do some pretty
mean harmonizing on such musical ditties as “Don’t
Fall in Love” and the slightly surreal number “Love
"Hi Girls. It's so hot outside I thought I'd take a stroll downtown today in my new bikini."
The text of the ad in the Charlotte Observer was accompanied by a particularly busty shot of a mod bikini-clad vixen sporting spiked heels, a shoulder bag and a
head full of shoulder-length black locks that were ratted on the
top with heavy bangs in front — in keeping with the style of the
She was, and probably still is, Charlotte’s most infamous
celebutante — not too different from Paris Hilton — someone who’s
famous for being famous. Just like Hilton — she was in the habit
of doing the outrageous for fun and attention. And as much as
Hilton adores the benefits of wealth, so did she.
Known alternately at different times and places as Morganna The
Wild Thing, Morganna The Wild One and Morganna The Kissing Bandit —
chances are — if you’re somewhere over 35, one of those names will
ring a bell for you.
Morganna Roberts — aka Morganna Cotrelle, Ruby Delmar and Nancy Lee
Rose — was an infamous character on the Charlotte scene from the
late 1960s to the late ‘70s.
A professional strip-tease dancer known for her ample endowments,
she performed regularly at nightspots popular during the era like
the infamous C’est Bon, the Zanzibar and the Mardi Gras Club.
It was a period in Charlotte history when most of the names popping
up in the Charlotte press were often a bit more wholesome: TV host
and homemaker Betty Feezor, features columnist Kayes Gary, musician
Arthur Smith, mayor and businessman John Belk, cowboy TV show host
Fred Kirby and children’s entertainer Joey the Clown.
Reportedly born in Louisville, Kentucky on July 4, 1947, Morganna
arrived in Charlotte sometime in 1968.
“I didn’t meet her until 1971,” says Ricky Carter, who would later
work with Morganna as the host of a strip tease act she would do at
the C’est Bon.
“She moved here with her mother and a couple of kids, though I
don’t think a lot of people were aware of that. Her mom took care
of the kids while she was out working.”
Carter recalls socializing with Morganna on a number of occasions.
“We would always ride around in this big red Cadillac convertible,”
he recollects. “She never went anywhere without being completely
made-up and looking fantastic. We’d go out to dinner or clubbing
and she would always get so much attention. She couldn’t get away
from it. Not that she really wanted to, anyway.”
Although stripper Morganna was already well known locally for her
micro-bikini forays across Trade and Tryon that would send
businessmen flocking to the street corners, it was at an Atlanta
Braves Game in September of 1969 that she first caught the
attention of the national media.
At the joking insistence of a friend, she climbed a fence at
Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium and planted a kiss on the Braves’
third baseman Clete Boyer.
“It wasn’t a planned publicity stunt,” Morganna told the
“A girlfriend invited me to go to the game with her. I like Clete
Boyer because on his team, he’s the most outstanding. I was
shouting to him, trying to get his attention, but he ignored me. I
think everybody else in the stadium was looking at us but him.
“I told my friend the next time he came to bat I was going to jump
onto the field and kiss him. She dared me to do it, so I did.”
That antic prompted a reporter to brand Morganna “The Kissing Bandit.”
Back in Charlotte Morganna finally decided to pull the ultimate
publicity-grabbing stunt: she announced that she would stroll
through downtown topless.
It was May 29, 1970. Early spring on a Friday afternoon at one
o’clock. Morganna knew that if she actually did attempt to walk
through downtown completely topless the police would stop her
before she got more than a few feet outside the front door — and
the publicity generated from an arrest couldn’t hold a candle to
the attention generated by the 1,000-plus onlookers that had
already lined the streets to see her fulfill her promise.
When she finally emerged from the front doors of the White House
Inn for her four-block walk she was — for the most part — topless.
No blouse. No bikini top. Practically nothing — save for two small
stick-on gift ribbons delicately attached in just the appropriate
locations and a mod floral print bikini bottom.
It was an election year and up for debate was the construction of
the Charlotte Civic Center — in a nod of approval for the effort
Morganna used a stencil and magic marker to inscribe the words
“Vote Yes Bond” on her stomach.
Cameras rolled and the police kept a watchful eye nearby as
Morganna strode towards the city square and then headed for a
parking lot at Tryon and Third, where she jumped in to her shiny
red Cadillac and quickly drove away.
It was all over in five minutes, but Morganna had finally caught
the attention of just about everyone in town. Besides the downtown
employees that had flooded the streets, she ended up in both city
papers and multiple TV news reports. She was the name on
“And that’s exactly what she wanted,” says Carter. “She had this
crazy sense of humor and she was all about the publicity she could
generate and the money she could make.”
The stunt generated a rather sizable weekly salary for Morganna —
$2500 — and a league of male admirers that would lavish her with
everything from cars and cash to Chinese sailboats and a house on
As the years passed, so too did Morganna’s local and national
infamy, right along with her ever-increasing bust size (1968: 37
1/2; 1973: 46 3/4; 1977: 60)
While many citizens were laughing right along with Morganna’s
quirky antics — some city politicians were not.
In an effort to clamp down on Morganna’s shenanigans and other
“exotic” acts, the city instituted a series of obscenity
ordinances. Topless dancers were now required to pay a $500 license
tax in order to perform. Anyone performing without the appropriate
license would be arrested on the spot. No bottomless dancing would
be permitted whatsoever.
According to reports from the Charlotte Observer and the Charlotte
News, she was arrested August 7, 1970, May 21, 1971 and May 28,
1971. On all occasions she was charged with “indecent exposure.”
She was never convicted in any of the Charlotte cases, but she was
convicted and sentenced to ten days of jail time after the 1970
performance in Alexandria, Kentucky. Always a comedian and forever
cashing in on a possible sex angle, Morganna told reporters at the
time: “I would have preferred going to a prison with some men in
it,” she joked. “I think the time would pass more quickly there.”
Morganna continued to maintain a residence in Charlotte through the
late ‘70s, but found herself traveling to other more
stripper-friendly territories as Charlotte’s live adult
entertainment market had grown extremely lean.
Never one to go out without a bang, she made one final hurrah
before heading off to greener pastures and cashing in on her
alternate “Kissing Bandit” persona.
Now 30, her hair was blonde and much larger, just like her now
In the past, Morganna had always promised to “stroll” through
downtown. This time she claimed she was going to ride through
downtown in a Cadillac. Once again, she promised she’d be topless.
At noon on Friday, October 21, 1977, thousands lined the streets to
As her car made the turn on to Tryon Street the crowd surged
forward. Sitting on the top of the backseat of a convertible
Cadillac that was indeed topless, Morganna smiled and waved at the
crowds while wearing her traditional two-piece bikini. As always —
she got the last laugh and the publicity.
During the ‘80s and ‘90s Morganna retired her strip act and moved
to Columbus, Ohio with her husband Bill Cottrell, whom she had
quietly married in 1976. As “Morganna the Kissing Bandit” she
continued to lock lips with some of the biggest names in
professional baseball: Pete Rose, Steve Garvey, Don Mattingly,
Nolan Ryan and Len Barker, among others. Often arrested but rarely
ever convicted, Morganna kept up the act until late 2000.
At age 53, Morganna completely withdrew from the public eye,
turning down all requests for interviews.
Charlotte magazine had hoped to speak with the reclusive Morganna —
after much digging we were able to track down her friend and former
agent John Terry in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “She hasn’t done an interview
in years,” he explained. “She just doesn’t want to talk about that
part of her life anymore.”
Terry agreed to approach Morganna’s husband — on our behalf —
about the possibility of an interview.
A few days later, Terry called us back. “Her husband liked the
idea,” he said. “She considered it — but she just didn’t feel
comfortable with it.”
To date, Morganna’s final words came in an article published in the
Seattle Post Intelligencer in 2001. In response to a reporter who
had penned a speculative “Where are they now?” piece she left a
message on an answering machine sometime around four a.m. — clearly
an attempt to avoid speaking with anyone directly.
“I just got sick of talking about myself and always being the
center of attention,” she said. “I loved it for the period of time
I did it, don’t get me wrong. But I just decided to stop being the
“For anybody who called and wanted me for the weekend or whatever,
I had to say, ‘sorry, Morganna has left the building.’
“The fans were wonderful … the players were wonderful … the road
was wonderful … but I had just had enough.”
According to Terry, Morganna and her husband continue to reside in
Ohio, where they have a large house, a creek and a running trail.
One of her former attorneys says that she recently purchased a
little league baseball team.
No longer so wild and definitely not a bandit, Morganna is now over 60.
Her final words in the Seattle Post Intelligencer article: “I’m
living my dream life.”
On a grassy hill overlooking the skyline of Charlotte’s center-city business district sits historic Elmwood Cemetery. A number of notable Charlotteans lie in rest here, including several Civil War veterans (two brigadier generals, no less), politicians, leading businessmen, and actor Randolph Scott.
Scott was actually born in Orange, Virginia—quite by accident—during a trip his parents had taken to visit relatives. Once Lucille Scott was well enough to travel, she and husband George, a prominent Charlotte businessman at the time, and little George Randolph returned to Charlotte, where the future actor would spend most of the next thirty years of his life.
Longtime Charlotteans might remember a restaurant that popped up on the Charlotte culinary landscape briefly in the 1970s bearing the name “Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott?” For many Americans and die-hard fans of cowboy Western films, the answer is captured in the lyrics from this Statler Brothers song released in 1973:
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott ridin' the range a-lone/Whatever happened to Gene and Tex And Roy and Rex, the Du-ran-go Kid/Whatever happened to Randolph Scott, his horse, plain as can be/Whatever happened to Randolph Scott/Has happened to the best of me.
The Statler Brothers themselves, and the lyrics to their song, are wholesome Americana at its most defined. Many people viewed Scott as such, too—an all-American boy from a good family who grew up to be a cowboy.
Fact is, Scott, from all reports, was quite the good soul. He did come from a wealthy, respectable, well-established family that made its home right here in Charlotte. And he did grow up to be a cowboy—on the motion-picture screen, that is.
Scott appeared in more than 100 movies during his career, beginning in 1928 with a bit part in Sharp Shooters at Twentieth Century Fox. He would go on to star in many memorable films, from comedy and film noir to Westerns and even musicals. Some of his most heralded Western roles were in films such as Colt .45, Tall Man Riding, The Stranger Wore a Gun, and Ride the High Country.
Although the cowboy genre made him a household name, he had several important non-Western roles, too. Among them were Pittsburgh with Marlene Dietrich, Supernatural with Carole Lombard, Go West, Young Man with Mae West, and My Favorite Wife with Irene Dunne and Cary Grant.
In his later years he would focus solely on the Western parts, a point of speculation for many motion-picture buffs.
“You know, I had no real abiding talent,” Scott told writer Boze Hadleigh in an interview from the early 1980s that was to have run in a Western-themed issue of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. The interview never ran, but Hadleigh published it in a collection of celebrity conversations printed in 1996.
“I suppose I was just good-looking. I liked Westerns. I liked comedy, too, but I didn’t think I was up to those ‘actor’s actor’ parts.”
Scott’s career in the entertainment industry spanned five decades. He bowed out of the business in 1963 after appearing in what became the most critically acclaimed role of his career, Ride the High Country, directed by legendary filmmaker Sam Peckinpah.
A wise investor throughout his life, mostly in oil mines and real estate, Scott was worth an estimated $100 million at the time of his retirement. He and wife Pat chose to live the country-club life in Beverly Hills.
Scott eventually passed away at eighty-nine on March 2, 1987, and was interred at Elmwood in Charlotte.
But let’s back up a bit.
Scott’s life began in Charlotte with his birth just prior to the onset of the twentieth century, on January 23, 1898. He came along during a particularly interesting time in history. Within a year or so the first automobiles began to appear on city streets. The first radio transmissions and powered air flights were less than five years away. Duke Power began supplying local residents with hydroelectric power. Belk Department Stores had recently opened its first store.
In the world at large, tensions were already beginning to rise between America and Spain over Cuba’s desire for independence from the European nation. Within three months the two countries would be at war, declared by President William McKinley (who would be murdered by a mentally ill anarchist less than four years later).
Scott’s son Chris, who lives on a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina, would write about his father’s life in his book, Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott?
“From the time of my father’s birth the world has undergone tremendous changes,” Chris wrote. “He watched as the world and the nation evolved. It seems to me that his mind must have been reasonably flexible to cope with the vast and sometimes furious changes that occurred in his lifetime. Not all people are lucky enough to have been that adaptable.”
And not all people are lucky enough to have been born into a family of such affluence.
Scott’s father was a city alderman and the CEO of the accounting firm Scott, Charnley & Company with offices in Latta Arcade. A Mason and a member of the Charlotte Country Club, the senior Scott enjoyed a flourishing career with all of society’s best perks.
That clout allowed him to provide handsomely for his wife Lucy, son Randolph, and his five daughters. At the time of Randolph’s birth the family made its home in the fashionable Fourth Ward neighborhood at 312 West Tenth Street (the home has long since vanished from the city’s architectural landscape, although the family’s later residence, at 1132 Dilworth Road, still stands as a private home).
Scott and his five sisters were afforded all the benefits of upper-crust society: private educations of the highest caliber and opportunities for extensive travel.
“I first met Randy as a visiting swimmer at Wrightsville beach in the summer of 1914,” friend and schoolmate Andrew Harriss recalled in an article he wrote for Woodberry Forest Preparatory School’s newsletter in 1988. “I was a member of a Carolina Yacht Club sailing crew of three on a relatively small boat. I asked permission for Randy to [join us].
“He almost failed his acceptability test by standing up and shaking the boat, but the skipper let him sail with us on successive occasions until July, 1917 and our active call to military duty.”
The two had attended prestigious Woodberry Forest in Virginia together and would later serve in the military in France during World War I.
Upon returning from France, Scott enrolled at Georgia Tech in Atlanta with hopes of a football career. After injuring his back, Scott transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill and majored in textile engineering. For a time he went to work for his father at the accounting firm, but it became obvious Scott was bored with the business. In 1927 he and a close friend set their sights on Hollywood and the motion-picture business.
Accounts vary wildly as to exactly how Scott would later become acquainted with billionaire Howard Hughes, but it was Hughes who actually cast Scott in his first film role.
The bit part didn’t result in a contract with a studio. In fact, he would spend the next four years flitting about from one studio to another before he would finally land a contract at Paramount. It was during the making of Sky Bride that he met one of the most important people in his life: Cary Grant.
The relationship between Grant and Scott would be shrouded amidst the workings of Hollywood publicists throughout the lives of both men.
Charles Higham and Roy Moseley wrote about the connection between the two actors in a 1989 book called The Lonely Heart that explored the life of Cary Grant.
“Cary was making This Is the Night and Sinners in the Sun . . . Scott was appearing in Sky Bride on an adjoining soundstage.
“[They] were instantly drawn to each other and decided on the spot to live together.”
Initially the twosome were bold about their relationship, appearing as escorts for one another at celebrity functions and even insisting on sharing a trailer during the production of My Favorite Wife.
Were they a couple? Scott’s son insists they were not.
The late director George Cukor, a friend of Grant and Scott’s, insists they were. “Oh, Cary won't talk about it,” Cukor told writer Boze Hadleigh. “At most, he'll say they did some wonderful pictures together. But Randolph will admit it—to a friend.”
According to Cukor, Scott confessed in his final days to a nurse who was attending him. “He’s shown the nurse his scrapbook on Grant, and when the nurse asked him if it was true, Randolph just smiled and nodded.”
Higham and Moseley imply that the relationship between the two continued throughout their lives—even through their successive marriages. “Randolph Scott . . . had apparently preserved a sentimental feeling for Cary,” they wrote in The Lonely Heart.
“In the 1970s they would turn up at the Beverly Hillcrest Hotel late at night after the other diners had gone, and in the near darkness of their table at the back of the restaurant, the maitre d’ would see the two old men surreptitiously holding hands.”
One thing is clear: Scott left behind a legend that appealed to many people from all walks of life. Moreover, he was an equally passionate and compassionate man when it came to the people and places in his life that he cared about. He and wife Pat were married for forty-five years until his death.
He referred to Grant as his best friend throughout his life and, according to son Chris, was always the consummately caring and loving father.
Charlotte always held a special place in his heart, and he would return over the years many times to visit relatives.
Longtime friend Billy Graham officiated at his graveside service in 1989. “He was spiritually-minded, but he didn’t wear his religion on his sleeve,” Graham said at the time in The Charlotte Observer.
“We were playing golf one day when we stopped behind a slower foursome. I asked Randy, ‘Do you give much thought to religious things, to Christ, the church?’ He said, ‘A lot more than people think I do.’”
Scott’s son Chris summed up his life in the closing pages of Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott?
“I know what happened to Randolph Scott. He is alive and well in the hearts of all whose lives he touched. Those of us who remember him are richer for having done so.”
Ten All-Time Scott Great Flics
(THESE ARE IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)
(1934) Early Scott western. Buffalo hunting, maidens held hostage and
Indians ready to attack all the white buffalo hunters. Also
“Doolins of Oklahoma”
(1949) Scott’s a good guy mistaken for a bad guy after he
accidentally kills an outlaw gang member. He tries to assume a new
identity – but the gang tracks him down.
“The Walking Hills”
(1949) Scott’s trailing a murder suspect in this one and follows the
suspect into a poker game. When one of the players reveals he knows
the location of a lost wagon train full of gold, everyone in the game
is suddenly bound up in an expedition into the desert to find the
treasure. Directed by John Sturges.
(1950) Scott’s a salesman for the Colt company who takes off after
a snarly villain (Zachary Scott) who’s stolen some guns from the Colt
company and gone on a murderous rampage. Ruth Roman makes a spunky
heroine as the wife of a miner who's in cahoots with the villain.
“Man in the Saddle”
(1951) A small farmer (Scott) is being harassed by his powerful
neighbor – who even hires gunmen to intimidate him. He has to defend
himself and his property by means of violence.
“The Stranger Wore A Gun”
(1953) A former spy (Scott) moves to Arizona to join a gold robbery,
but realizes he’s made a big mistake upon his arrival.
“The Bounty Hunter”
(1954) After a violent train robbery the Pinkerton detective agency
hires a bounty hunter (Scott) to find the killers. Unsure of their
identity, he tracks them to a small town in this tension-filled game
of cat and mouse.
“Tall Man Riding”
(1955) Revenge western with Scott as Larry Madden seeking seeking
revenge against an evil ranch owner for publicly whipping him years
earlier and breaking up his relationship with Ordway's daughter.
“Buchannon Rides Alone”
(1958) Tom Buchanan (Scott) rides into a California border town and
finds himself caught in the middle of a feud between several members
of the Agry family.
“Ride the High Country”
(1963) Interesting final role for Scott. This time he plays a good
guy gone bad as he and fellow western legend Joel McCrea go to battle
over gold and morality.