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.