The Mystery Behind Rattlesnake Dick’s Lost Treasure in the Trinity Mountains

Richard Barter AKA “Rattlesnake Dick”

Richard Barter lived a life of crime in the Gold Rush era of the 1800s in California, and one of his stagecoach robberies may have left a large sum of loot buried in the Trinity Mountains. In legend, he is simply known as “Rattlesnake Dick.”

In 1856, the bandit learned from a drunken miner that gold shipments were being sent down Trinity Mountain from Yreka to Shasta and assembled a gang to intercept the shipment. While Dick was rounding up mules to take the gold down the mountain, his gang of five masked bandits stole $25,000 from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. They took the loot and buried it in multiple places along the mountain, hoping to retrieve it with pack mules later.

Trinity Alps. Photo by Sanath Kumar

About $15,000 of the loot was eventually retrieved in a ravine on the headwaters of Clear Creek, but the melting of the snow in the springtime changed the landscape so much, the rest was never found. The lost money would be worth more than $300,000 today.

Rattlesnake Dick was eventually gunned down in Auburn in 1859, without revealing the whereabouts of the loot. Is it still up there?

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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