The Story Of The Serial Killer Who Terrorized This Small Wyoming Town Is Truly Frightening

In the 1860s, Wyoming’s tiny town of South Pass became one of the territory’s busiest cities, thanks to mines that struck gold in the mountains. However, not every visitor had a pleasant time in the hospitable city, thanks to the deadly work of Wyoming’s first-ever serial killer: a young woman by the name of Polly Bartlett. Few folks know that Wyoming’s ever even had a serial killer of its own, let alone known that the killer was female.

During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.

Today, South Pass City is preserved as a historic site, and you can still visit the ghost town. It’s worth the detour from Lander – just be sure not to run into an overly friendly innkeeper, would ya? For more creepy Wyoming ghost tales, read 8 Horribly Creepy Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do In Wyoming.

Address: South Pass, Wyoming 82520, USA
The OIYS Visitor Center

South Pass City in Wyoming

October 11, 2021

Are there any interesting ghost towns in Wyoming? 

Of course! Wyoming is one of those states where there just might be more ghost towns than living towns! Okay, maybe not literally, but figuratively speaking, this is a ghostly state. We’re big fans of ghost towns, and Wyoming is home to some of our favorites. Sure, there’s South Pass City (which you’ve just read about), but there are also amazing gems like Atlantic City, which isn’t terribly far from South Pass City and still has an operating restaurant. Piedmont is an interesting one, too, with several dilapidated old cabins falling to history there (read: photogenic!). There’s also the oldest town in Wyoming, Hartville, which was once a hideout for bank robbers (seriously). If you’d like to read more about these towns and a few others, check out this list of ten creepy ghost towns in Wyoming! It’s perfect for anyone feeling adventurous; get out and explore this gorgeous state! 

Have there been any Wyoming serial killers? 

Unfortunately, despite being darned remote and mostly forgotten about in favor of more infamous places, Wyoming has seen its fair share of terrifying serial killers and otherwise dangerous criminals. There’s the story you just read, about Polly Bartlett, but other than her, there was also Rodney Alcala – known more commonly as “The Dating Game Killer” thanks to his being on the show in the 70s. He was charged in 2016 with a 1977 cold case murder that took place in this beautiful state that seemed to leave a shadow lingering here for decades after. While the case went unsolved for decades, recent DNA evidence confirmed Alcala’s connection to the murder and, at the very least, some closure was finally brought to the victim’s family.  

Address: South Pass, Wyoming 82520, USA