Butch Cassidy
Sundance Kid

From Wyoming Tales and Trails

This page: The Hole-in-the-Wall, origin of names Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, the Butte County Bank robbery, Ben Kilpatrick, Harvey Logan, Charles Siringo.

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About This Site

Butte County Bank, 1903

On June 28, 1897, Sundance along with George Currie, Kid Curry, Walt Punteney and Tom O'Day participated in the robbery of the Butte County Bank in Belle Fourche, S.D. The bank must have been a tempting target. After the railroad arrived, the town had become prosperous as being a loading point for cattle and later sheep. Indeed, the bank was so prosperous that it was acquired in 1903 by Clay, Robinson and Co., the largest commission agents in the country. A full 1/3rd of its loans were on sheep. John Clay of Clay, Robinson managed the Three Vees from whom Sundance had stolen a horse and saddle beginning his criminal career.

Thus, Fifth Avenue was lined with saloons to quench the thirst of cowboys. Indeed, there were so many saloons that the street was commonly referred to as "Saloon Street." Above the saloons were other establishments to tempt lonely cowboys. The most famous of the other establishments was one commonly called "Diddlin' Dora's" operated by Madame Dora DuFran. Madame DuFran was so successful that she had branches elsewhere including Lead and Deadwood. The robbery of the bank and the follow-up by the law was a comedy of errors. O'Day was described by Will Frackelton as having a "rich brogue" and an air of "genial stupidty." Frackleton, p. 64. O'day was arrested hiding in a privy behind a local saloon after O'Day's horse decided to leave town without O'Day. [Writer's note: Walt Punteney (1870-1950) is generally credited as being the last surviving member of the Wild Bunch, having died on April 19, 1950, in Pinedale, Wyo.]

View of Livery Stable, Belle Fourche, S.D., approx. 1900

On September 24, 1897, Carbon County, Mont., Sheriff John Dunn and a small posse cought up with the remaining three near the Musselshell River. In the ensuing shootout, Kid Curry's horse was shot through the neck and Curry was shot through the wrist. Curry leaped upon the horse and galloped away, only to have the horse drop dead. All three were arrested and transported to the Deadwood Jail. There, they promptly escaped and stole horses and gear. Another posse caught up with them. They eluded capture by escaping on foot, but lost the horses and swag that they had stolen. They ultimately made it back to the Hole in the Wall, where as a result of their adventures, they were accepted as full members of the Hole in the Wall gang.

Ben Kilpatrick (the "Tall Texan"), 1905, Atlanta Federal Penitentiary photo

As were many children of the age, Ben Kilpatrick (1874-1912) was on his own at age 12. He ultimately fell in with the outlaw Tom "Black Jack" Ketchum. Ketchum's gang had a falling out with their leader. Ketchum was hanged after he attempted to rob a train in New Mexico by himself. In the meantime, Kilpatrick, known as the "Tall Texan," had joined with Bill Carver, Kid Curry, Sundance and Butch Cassidy, and is believed to have participated in the Tipton train robbery, discussed on the next page. Kilpatrick was 6 ft. 1 inch tall. He was, thus, at that period of time regarded as tall. In the 1880's, the average cowboy was five ft. six inches and weighed 135 lbs. Even after Sundance and Cassidy left the country, Kilpatrick continued his lawless ways. Kilpatrick served time for passing stolen bank notes. After his release in 1911 from the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, he went back to train robbery and was killed in 1912 while attempting to rob a Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio train near Sanderson, Texas. Wire services reported Kilpatrick's demise:

San Antonio, March 14.--Express messenger Truesdale prevented the robbery of a Southern Pacific train near Sanderson today when he killed two highwaymen who had held up the train.
The robbers boarded the train, No. 9 westbound, a few miles east of Sanderson. The mail and express cars and the locomotive were detached. Then the engineer, covered by the bandits revolvers was compelled to run the coaches ahead. One of the robbers took Truesdale back to the train and kept him under guard, while the other covered the crew ahead and started to rifle the safe and express boxes.
Truesdale is said to have employed the ruse of signalling to an imaginary person back of this captor. When the robber turned Truesdale grasped a mallet and before the highwayman could shoot, dashed out his brains.
Then, arming himself with the dead robber's revolver, Truesdale waited for the return of the other bandit. After he had rifled express boxes the second man returned to the coaches. Stepping from cover, Truesdale killed him.
All of the stolen property was recovered and the train proceeded.
Truesdale is a young man, recently promoted to the express run. He lives in San Antonio.

Harvey Logan, "Kid Curry"

Harvey Alexander Logan was born in Tama County, Iowa in 1867. After their mother died, the four Logan brothers, Hank, Johnnie, Lonny, and Harvey, were reared by their aunt in Dodson, Missouri. With two of his two brothers, Johnnie and Lonny, and his cousin Bob Lee, Logan left home to trail cattle from Texas to Colorado. The four ultimately, however, wandered into the Hole in the Wall where he met George Currie. As a result, the three bothers changed their last names to "Curry." By 1894, the Logan Brothers, now known as the "Curry Brothers," had established a ranch near Landusky, Montana, in what was then Choteau County, now Phillips County. The town was named after Powell "Pike" Landusky who had discovered gold in the area several years before. Bad blood existed, however, between Landusky and the Curry brothers arising out of the fact that Lonny had impregnated Landusky's daughter, Elfie. Landusky, however, apparently blamed Harvey for the deed.

Harvey was quick tempered, particularly when he was well lubricated with alcohol. On December 24 or 25, depending on the source, Harvey had been enjoying too much Christmas Spirit at "Jew Jake's" Saloon. An altercation arose between Landusky and Harvey in which the younger man had the advantage and was beating the town founder's head to a pulp against the floor. Lonnie and Jim Thornhill held the spectators at bay at gunpoint. The older man was able to get a revolver out of his jacket. Whereupon Harvey was handed a gun and was able to shoot Lundusky dead. Eleven witnesses swore it was self defense, but the Curry brothers, fearing that Harvey could not get a fair trail, departed town in a stolen buckboard.

On the outlaw trail, Harvey fell in with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and, as discussed on the next page, participated in the Wilcox and Tipton, Wyoming, train robberies as well as the Wagner, Montana, train robbery. The effect, however was that the Union Pacific and Great Northern were annoyed and employed the Pinkerton Agency to get Curry. The Pinkerton's assigned Charles Siringo to the case.

Charles Siringo, 1907

The Pinkerton Agency was founded by Scottish born Alan Pinkerton (1819-1884). He came to the United States after his father, a police officer, died. He served as a deputy sheriff in Kane County, Illinois, before becoming a deputy in Cook County. Prior to the Civil War he became the first private detective in Chicago. His fame, however, was achieved by providing intelligence service to the Union and body guard service to President Lincoln. Following the war his agency provided labor intelligence to corporations threatened by unionization. Pinkerton died of gangrene after accidently biting his tongue in a fall.

Charles Angelo Siringo (1855-1928) started at an early age as a cowboy. In 1885, he wrote a book relating to his days on the cattle trails, A Texas Cowboy: or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony. Thereafter, he joined the Pinkerton Agency. One of his tactics in providing intelligence was disguise and infiltration. Siringo spent four years in pursuit of Harvey Logan, Butch Cassidy, and Sundance, following them through Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, back to Rawlins and up into the Bighorn Basin, down to New Mexico again, and back up to Gunnison. Some of that time he pretended to be an outlaw and infiltrated Robbers Roost, Utah, and befriended Elfie who after the birth of her child adopted Curry as her surname. The efforts were, however, for the most part for naught. In 1907, Siringo left the service of the Pinkerton Agency and became first a rancher in New Mexico and later left for the lights of Hollywood and minor movie parts.

Next page: Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid continued, Wilcox and Tipton Train Robberies, Winnemucca Bank Robbery, Butch and Sundance in Argentina, the alleged death of Kid Curry, and the alleged return of Butch Cassidy.