The Cowboy and the Lady

Executive editor Skip Hollandsworth on Peggy Jo Tallas (the infamous bank robber known as Cowboy Bob) and rooting for the bad guy. After Peggy Jo Tallas’s death in early 2005, the family was unwilling to speak with reporters. How did you manage to break their silence and get them to share their stories?

Skip Hollandsworth: When the story broke in 1992 that a woman named Peggy Jo Tallas, the infamous “Cowboy Bob,” had been arrested for robbing banks, I was one of many reporters back then who wanted to talk to her. But she wasn’t giving interviews and neither was anyone in her family. She was a genuine mystery who preferred going off to prison in silence. She didn’t even try to explain her behavior to the judge.

I forgot about her—until this past May, of course, when I learned

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