When Pete and Sam Blanton drifted into Round Valley, about 1877, they were fiery "Gun Toters" with a record back of them.
Sam didn't last long. Gus Becker had a horse, which when saddled, would start off at a run the instant a foot was put in the stirrup. Sam, who was still in his early twenties, boasted that he could ride that "dammed horse" bareback. Bets were placed and Sam jumped on the "critter," which started off on a run towards the log granary completely out of Sam's control. Within a few feet of the building, it plowed it's feet and whirled, throwing Sam against the logs smashing out his brains.
Pete was a daring fellow and a good outlaw leader. So he quickly drew others around him, often having a band of seven or eight. They did little stealing here, usually going away on foraging trips, north, south, east, or west, and often coming back with bands of horses or the proceeds from selling bands they had stolen. They would lay around here, drinking, gambling and carousing.
There was a young kid in the band who was a cold blooded devil and Pete was afraid of him. So on one of their return trips, stopping at Baca Flats (Reserve) over night, Pete agreed that if the Kid started an argument with him, one of his henchmen, Overstreet, was to stab him in the back.
Drinking that evening in the saloon, the Kid began to get mean and tried to pick a quarrel with Pete. Then Overstreet sneaked up behind and stabbed him in the back.
1877, 1878 and 1879 were hot years. Individual or outlaw bands passed through here continuously, some who felt they had lost their posses, staying over, others staying just long enough to get enough to move on with, and keeping ahead of their posse. Posse's passed through on the pursuit and passing back through announced that they had gotten their man, or men, but they never fooled with them. They just dropped them and either buried or left them in the open, taking his saddle and guns back as evidence.
In 1877, Pete and friend were carousing in a saloon in St Johns when Pete shot a Mexican. A Mexican posse chased him and partner to a granary where he barricaded himself. They finally agreed to let the partner out of the room to go on, but refused to give Pete any quarter. A half-breed French-Mexican, crawled up in the rear door over some grain sacks, and yelled at Pete to put them up. But Pete merely whirled and shot him through the heart. Another Mexican crawled up on the roof and worked loose a board, through which opening, he saw and shot Pete.
The rest of Pete gang stayed around Round Valley, raising hell, until in 1877 the Government sent in a troop of cavalry and declared martial law. After staying a couple of weeks and holding a Court of Inquiry, they arrested Overstreet and Snyder (who belonged to another gang) and turned them over to Deputy Sheriff Milligan to take to Prescott, the County Seat.
The soldiers left at noon and Milligan started for Prescott just at sundown, apparently an agreed upon time. A group of men were waiting for them at the "hole" (now Becker Lake) and as they drove up, poured a bunch of lead into Overstreet and Snyder. Overstreet fell over dead, but Snyder, jumped and ran to the bottom of the "hole" before he fell.
This scared a number of the other outlaws in the county and they moved away, one at a time some giving up their land. New ones soon drifted in however, but the balance of the Blanton gang was busted up.