Death Valley Scotty

Walter Scott was a trick rider in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

Scott quit the Wild West Show in an argument with Buffalo Bill, then convinced a wealthy New York banker to invest money in Scott’s secret gold mine in Death Valley, California. 


After his New York sucker gave up on him, Scott convinced Chicago insurance executive Albert Johnson to invest in Scott’s secret gold mine.


Scott had a flair for publicity that kept him and his supposed secret mine in the newspapers.

The Los Angeles papers called him “Death Valley Scotty.”


Scott tried unsuccessfully to parlay his fame into a show business career, but the play flopped.  Years later he also starred in an equally unsuccessful silent movie.

After his “Battle of Wingate Pass” fiasco, most realized that Scott was just a faker with no gold mine.


Scott was still good newspaper copy, but not always in the way he wanted.

When Albert Johnson built his palatial retirement home in Death Valley, he allowed Scott to stay there and pretend that “Scotty’s Castle” belonged to Scott, paid for by the proceeds of Scott’s secret gold mine.

Scotty’s Castle is in Death Valley National Park, and open for visits.  Scott is buried on the hill above the castle.



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