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Chapter 9: Red Lodge and Capture

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER 9

Red Lodge and Capture

It is not certain whether the Belle Fourche bank robbers were in the Hole-in-the-Wall when the famous fight occurred there between the rustlers and some invading cattlemen on July 22, 1897. The latter party consisted of twelve men, which included two Montana livestock inspectors, and was there to round up all the stolen cattle that could be found. One of the inspectors was Joe LeFors, who would later figure prominently in tracking members of the Wild Bunch.1 Bob Divine was there representing the CY, and according to Brown Waller, he had warrants in his possession for the Belle Fourche robbers.2 Waller does not cite his source for this; however, it shouldn’t be discounted since Divine stated in a January 1, 1897, letter that he wanted warrants turned over to him from Natrona County Sheriff H. L. Patton and Johnson County Sheriff Al Sproal, in order to bring in Currie, O’Day, and other members of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang for rustling.3

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Chapter 6

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press PDF

CHAPTER 6

Kid Curry Loses Another Brother

A

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 3

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press PDF

CHAPTER 3

The Man from Pike County, MO

P

owell “Pike” Landusky and family owned a ranch on Rock Creek a few miles from the Curry brothers’ ranch. His nickname was derived from the county he hailed from in Missouri. Landusky, of

Polish-French descent, was a lanky six feet tall with exceptionally long arms. His nearly 200-pound frame possessed phenomenal strength and endurance. He had the reputation of a battler and brawler, and was famous for his volatile temper, especially when he was drinking.1

Landusky was nineteen when he left his home in Missouri to travel to the goldfields at Last Chance Gulch (Helena) and Alder Gulch (Virginia City) in Montana Territory. The River Press later reported that he took passage with several friends on the steamboat Henry Adkins to Fort

Benton. “Landusky displayed pugilistic propensities, and just before Fort

Benton was reached he and some of his associates started a melee, terrorizing the passengers.” They left the boat peacefully at Fort Benton after the captain received support from a group of vigilantes who were in town. Another account says he rode a horse all the way from St. Louis, sometimes with a wagon train, but mostly alone.2

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Chapter 15: Arizona Rampage

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER 15

Arizona Rampage

The Pinkerton’s Denver office sent detective Frank Murray to Alma in about early March to investigate some Wilcox money that had been deposited in the Silver City bank by the storekeeper in Alma. Murray, who was later promoted to the assistant superintendent of the Denver office, came to the WS and questioned William French concerning Jim Lowe. When he showed French a photograph of a group of men, he recognized the only man that was sitting down as Jim Lowe. Murray then asked him if he knew that Lowe was also known as Butch Cassidy. French replied that he did not, and in return, asked the detective if he was going to try to arrest him. Murray said he was not foolish enough to attempt to arrest Cassidy in that neighborhood without the backup of “a regiment of cavalry.” He was more interested in tracing the stolen money than running down Cassidy.1

The Alma storekeeper had told the detective earlier that a WS cowboy named Johnny Ward had spent the bills. To French’s surprise it turned out to be Little Johnny Ward instead of Big Johnny Ward, the latter he knew to be a member of the Wild Bunch. Little Johnny said he got the bills from a former WS cowboy named “McGonigal” in payment for two horses. This was Clay McGonagill, who had worked with Cassidy and Elzy Lay at the Erie Cattle Company in Arizona previous to the WS. Murray was determined to track him down, not knowing that McGonagill had gone back to Arizona.2

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Chapter 2: Cowboys in Montana

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER 2

Cowboys in Montana

Whether they came up the trails from Kansas City, Missouri, a starting point for the Westward Movement, or by trailing a herd from Texas, to New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming, the brothers were in north-central Montana Territory by early fall of 1884.1 It is really just conjecture as to the route they took, since there are only a few cryptic references in the available literature. The latter route can be inferred in part from a statement by Pinkerton Detective Charles A. Siringo. Kid Curry, “at an early age drifted to Texas and Colorado to become a cowboy. In 1884 he got into a ‘jackpot’ in Pueblo, Colorado, and had to hit the high places to escape the officers of the law, several bullets striking the buggy in which he made his getaway.”2 This is in reference to Harvey supposedly being involved in a brawl or shooting at a roadhouse outside of Pueblo.

Another brief mention is from A. V. “Kid Amby” Cheney who said he worked with Kid Curry as a “rep” with the Circle C outfit late in the season in 1890. “The . . . Curry brothers . . . were southern cowboys who had come north and settled on a ranch near Landusky in the Little Rockies.”3

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