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Chapter 4

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press PDF


Pay Back


here was a light snowfall the morning of December 27, 1894, and the cold was keeping several men inside the Clothing Store and Saloon run by Jake Harris. Harris’ left leg had been amputated close to the hip after a gun battle with City Marshal George Treat of Great Falls in November 1891.1 He used a shotgun for a crutch if he expected any trouble in his saloon. Harris and Landusky were friends, and Landusky had put up the money for the building with the status of silent partner.

There was a counter in the back of the saloon where cheap clothing and some food items were sold. Harris had sent to Anaconda for a friend of his named Charles Annis, who went by the name Hogan, to be his clerk.

Despite being frail and tubercular, he was reputed to be a gunman. It was understood that, besides minding the store, another duty of Hogan’s was to keep the wild cowboy element, such as the Currys, in line.2

Ed Skelton, a friend of Landusky’s, was present that morning: “I met

Mr. Landusky at Jake Harris saloon about ten o’clock on the 27th day of

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Chapter 6

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press PDF


Kid Curry Loses Another Brother


bout the time Kid Curry left the hideaway in the Missouri Breaks and headed for Wyoming, younger brother John Curry became involved in a water rights dispute and took up with another man’s wife, not necessarily in that order.

Little Rockies pioneer Charles W. Duvall wrote that the four Curry brothers had each homesteaded their own piece of land. “The Curry ranches extended from the east boundary of the Tressler ranch down

Rock Creek which swung south, just east of the Tressler homestead. As

160 acres was all one could homestead at that time these four homesteads were only about a mile and a half long. The home which the Curry’s built and where they all lived was built near a large spring which came out of the north bank of Rock Creek and the homestead joining Dan Tressler.

The Curry home was in plain sight from the Dan Tressler home.”1

Tressler was building up his ranch, and he and his pretty young wife

Lucy seemed to be doing well. Then a romance developed between John

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Chapter 10

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press PDF


Deadwood and Escape


he Deadwood Daily Pioneer-Times of September 30, 1897, reported the robbers’ arrival. Although Kid Curry and the Sundance Kid had given their names as Tom and Frank Jones in Billings, and also at their arraignment in Deadwood, the newspaper referred to them parenthetically as “the notorious Roberts brothers.” (If these two had been considered brothers all along by both the Hole-in-the-Wall residents and officers of the law, it could mean that Lonie Curry may not have been involved in any of the gang’s rustling activities or the bank robbery at Belle

Fourche.) Walter Punteney did not long persist in giving his name as

Charley Frost, eventually admitting his real identity, although the press spelled it as “Putney.” The report went on to say that all three men proclaimed innocence and insisted they didn’t know anyone named George

Currie. It had been determined that Currie split from the rest of the gang at Red Lodge.1 Wyoming rancher Robert Tisdale later reported that the outlaw was seen in central Wyoming about late October.2 Nevertheless, the posse members quickly put in a claim for the promised reward of

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Chapter 14: The Law Closes In

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press ePub


The Law Closes In

A reward poster issued by the Union Pacific Railroad and Pacific Express companies, dated January 12, 1900, and a Pinkerton National Detective Agency poster dated February 23, 1900, stated there was “satisfactory evidence” and it had been “definitely ascertained” that three of the robbers were Kid Curry, his brother Lonie, and their cousin Bob Lee, with the $18,000 reward still in effect. By this time the Pinkertons were publicly vacillating on the issue of whether there were more than three involved. Their poster stated there may have been five or six men in the robbery.1

“In the files of the Union Pacific Railroad,” one writer states, “Harvey Logan was listed as the leader of the gang at Wilcox. What proof the UP officials had of this fact isn’t known, though it may have been because they considered him the most callous and dangerous of the Wild Bunch.”2 Kid Curry’s leadership role should more likely be attributed to his possessing the intelligence to plan and carry out a successful train robbery.

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Chapter 16

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press PDF


Death of the Rustler King


latnose George Currie did not accompany Sundance and Kid Curry to southern Colorado after the Wilcox train robbery, but it was too risky to remain in the area of Hole-in-the-Wall. By December 1899 he was rustling cattle in the Green River country of Utah, and had thrown in with rustler Tom Dilley. While working for the Webster Cattle Company on Hill Creek above Thompson, Dilley had got into a fight with the manager named Fullerton, and Sam Jenkins, a cowboy. All that winter

Dilley and Currie built up a herd by blotching brands, particularly on

Webster cattle. In April 1900 Currie was caught in the act by an employee and ordered off the ranch. The man went for the authorities after

Currie warned him off with his six-gun.1

Grand County Sheriff Jesse M. Tyler and Uintah County Sheriff

William Preece combined posses, and set out to capture the rustler or rustlers. They discovered a deserted camp not far from the McPherson

Ranch on the Green River. The posse searched through the hills until, about noon the next day, they came upon Currie on foot, looking for some stray horses. He answered the command to surrender by firing at the posse with his Winchester and retreating toward the Green River. He reached the river by dark, and either swam across or built a crude raft for the purpose. The morning of April 17 found Currie settled among some boulders on a hill near the river, ready for a siege. Sheriff Preece and his men tried to pick off the outlaw from across the river, while Sheriff

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