This report references one or more of the enduring lies that the inept horse thief and train robber Thomas Vernon told about himself:
that he was "Buffalo" Tom, the rodeo star; and that he was Thomas Averill, the fantasy love child of Jim Averill and Cattle Kate.
He was neither.
According to Carolena Rezendes of Citrus Heights, Calif., this is a photograph of Saugus train robber Tom Vernon, aka Tom Averill,
at her family home outside of Sacramento in 1957-58.
Rezendes specifically refutes the ending of Jerry Reynolds' story about the Great Saugus Train Robbery of 1929, where Reynolds says
the bandit was released 35 years after his 1929 incarceration
(i.e., 1964), and describes him as a "small, nervous, aged, gray-haired man, who died shortly thereafter of a 'social disease.'"
Vernon was indeed pardoned by
Gov. Pat Brown in 1964, but he was paroled more than a decade earlier; he shows up in
Idaho in 1953 as seen here.
Rezendes writes (Aug. 31, 2004): "I know for a fact that he was Not in prison in 1957/1958 because he was living with my family in Sacramento,
California, in 1957 & 1958. As to how he died, it was TB. Our family buried him."