A killing spree on a lonely track to Nelson in 1866 made the Marlborough goldfields look like the Wild West.

James Battle was the first to be murdered, on June 12, 1866 on the Maungatapu Track in the Pelorus Valley.

The next day, four more men were killed uphill from the river where the track climbs over the Bryant Range to Nelson.

On a winter's afternoon, Felix Mathieu and his three companions were ambushed on a steep hill track by men pointing guns and knives at them.


Richard Burgess and his gang lay in wait at a trap they had