Robber’s Cut — site of Jesse James train robbery

When traveling around Missouri, I like to stop when I see a sign announcing “Historic Marker Ahead” and see what is there.  

Usually it is just a sign or placard to read and maybe the remains of something from the past. This used to annoy my now grown children when we went on vacation.

I can still hear them yelling out “No, not again” when I would pull over. But now that I am retired, I can do what I want.

If you are traveling from Sedalia to Jefferson City on U.S. Highway 50, an interesting historic site you might want to stop and see is the site of Robber’s Cut at the Brownfield Roadside Park.  

It is about 14 miles east of Sedalia and just east of the city of Otterville, Mo.

You have to get off of Highway 50 when you see the sign for Otterville and take Highway A. This road is actually old Highway 50 and was bypassed when Highway 50 was rebuilt and straightened, avoiding most of the old small towns.  

Because of this most travelers don’t know this site is here and never get to see it.

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It has been called Robber’s Cut ever since Jesse James and his gang robbed Missouri Pacific Train #4 in July 1876.

More than $20,000 and other valuables were taken. The robbers then proceeded to Flat Creek one mile south of here where they divided the loot.

At this park you can walk to the edge of the cliff and look down at the tracks and imagine how the James Gang might have pulled off the robbery.  

As a train would pass, it would be fairly easy, although dangerous, to jump right on the top of the moving train.

The park has a historic marker about the Jesse James event, a Blue Star Highway marker honoring our veterans, and several picnic tables with barbecue grills.  

It is a small but very clean and well-maintained park.

(Dennis Bresnahan can be reached at (314) 868-7297 or

2 thoughts on “Robber’s Cut — site of Jesse James train robbery

  1. When I was a kid, my great-uncle, James A. Kimbrough, told me the story of the train robbery. He was almost ten years old in 1876. His father owned a drygoods store in Otterville. He said when news of the robbery reached town, everything closed up and people jumped on horses, mules, wagons, and buggies and rode to the location. The train was still there, but the gang was long gone. That same summer they received the news of Custer’s massacre on the Little Big Horn and the killing of Wild Bill Hickcock in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. Uncle Jim was born in Alabama in 1866 and died in Florida in 1957.

  2. My family history (or legend?) includes a story about the time my Missouri ancestor once welcomed a couple of traveling strangers to have a meal (as some did back in those days) and after they went their way and she was clearing the table, she found a gold coin under one of the plates.
    She later learned of the nearby train robbery.
    Has anyone else ever heard this story?

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