McParland was the most famous of the Pinkerton detectives and was enlisted by Governor Gooding to interrogate Orchard. McParland had been the one who broke up the miners' union in Pennsylvania known as the "Molly Maguires" in the 1870's.
At McParland's direction, Orchard was taken from the local jail to the Idaho State Penitentiary in Boise, where he was placed in solitary confinement for ten days before McParland commenced his interrogation. During his first session with Orchard, McParland made it clear to Orchard that the state had sufficient evidence to convict and hang Orchard without any confession from him.
McParland did, however, tell Orchard that if Orchard would implicate the Western Federation of Miners, McParland would see that Orchard didn't hang. McParland said he knew already that Orchard had been employed by the "Inner Circle" of the union to kill Steunenberg, although McParland at that time had no evidence to support this theory.
At the second session with McParland, Orchard probed McParland to establish McParland's ability to save Orchard's life. Then, Orchard, not so surprisingly, "confessed" to killing Steunenberg and said he had been hired to do so by officials of the Western Federation of Miners, specifically Haywood, as well as the union president, Charles Moyer, an advisor to the union, George Pettibone, and another union operative, Jack Simpkins.