Greed and the Need to Feed – The Story of the Colorado Cannibal, Alfred Packer

During the mid-19th century the call of the west was difficult for many to ignore. This westward drive was full of promises, the promise of unspoiled land, freedom and most importantly – gold. Greed has a way of making people do things they normally would not do. For instance, pick up a stranger who claims to be a wilderness guide, who suspiciously lacks all of the tools of that trade.

During the winter of 1874, a group of prospectors heading to Colorado in search of gold did just that. The man they met would seal their fate. Alfred Packer was a disagreeable man, who ineptitude and constant seizures did nothing to help the expedition through treacherous terrain, blizzards and freezing temperatures.

The group, starving and near death, found shelter with a local native group who offered to let them stay till spring. Many accepted. But some just could not wait, as their greed got the better of them they were lured by Alfred to continue on, with his assurance of a shortcut. The men that left with him would never be seen alive again.

Two month later, Packer emerged from the mountains, looking rather well and with a bit more cash than he started out with. He spun wild tales of how he been left behind by the group. Though the story was suspicious, no one had any reason to truly doubt Alfred.

Then, a native man emerged from the wilderness holding strips of dried human flesh. Well, I am sure you can guess the rest.

In this episode, Jen tells you the wild story of the Colorado Gold Rush and it most notorious villain, Alfred Packer.


Colorado Virtual Library
Lake City


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