Mary Anne Bugg works on a sheep station near Mudgee and she meets Frederick Ward, a ticket of leave man. She becomes his common law wife. He is sentenced to Cockatoo Prison for horse stealing. Mary Ann is said to have left Mudgee to take a job as a maid in Balmain and aided Frederick in his escape across the shark infested Parramatta river. They escape on horse back with Fred Britten and become a bush ranging gang in the Stroud area. Mary Ann is supported by her Aboriginal relations. Frederick assumes the title of Captain Thunderbolt.