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ix Preface H arvey Logan, better known by his alias, “Kid Curry,” has generally been portrayed as a cold- blooded killer, without any compassion or conscience, possessed of limited intelligence. The 1969 fi lm Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid depicts Cassidy outsmar ting a huge dull-witted Harvey Logan in a knife fight after he has contested Butch’s leadership. The real Harvey Logan/Kid Curry was a stocky five feet, seven and one-half inches, and credited with a sharp mind. He has f ared little better in books and w estern magazines, w hile Butch Cassidy is portrayed as the super bandit w ho robbed the rich to give to his friends, if not the poor. At best, Kid Curry is relegated to the position of Butch’ s second-in-command, but not capab le of being a successful outlaw without Cassidy’s cunning and planning. In latter years, this view has begun to change. “Despite a lar ge fraternity of Wild Bunch scholars and students,” writes Richard F. Selcer, “all western historians are not equall y impressed with the le gend of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In par ticular, longtime historian Ed Bartholomew is convinced that Butch and Sundance are lar gely the product of romantic mythmaking by writers Charles Kelly and James D. Horan, aided and abetted b y Hollywood scriptwriters … Bar tholomew is the lonely voice of the debunker who believes that whatever fame and success the Wild Bunch enjoyed should properly be credited to Har vey Logan and Bill [or Will] Carver. This minority opinion is somewhat supported by the recollections of Joe LeFors, the famed Wyoming lawman who chased the Wild Bunch all over the country in the late 1890s, y et his memoirs mentioned Cassidy only once and Harry Longabaugh [The Sundance Kid] not at all.”1 Another noted figure who chased Kid Cur ry and his gang all o ver the western and southern United States was Pinkerton detective Charles A. Siringo. In Siringo’s A Cowboy Detective: A True Story of Twentytwo Years with a World-Famous Detective Agency, Harry Longabaugh, the “Sundance Kid,” is paid scant attention. Butch Cassidy f ares much x Preface better, being mentioned se veral times in the tw o chapters concer ning Kid Curry’s assaults on the Union Pacific Railroad at Wilcox, Wyoming (1899), and later at Tipton, Wyoming (1900). However, Siringo does not include Cassidy in either of these train robberies. In fact there is no concrete evidence that he ever led or participated in any train robbery; this was Kid Curry’s specialty. When Siringo refers to major crimes committed b y Cassidy, it is in connection with his 1896 bank robber y in Montpelier, Idaho, and the holdup of a bank in Winnemucca, Nevada, with the Sundance Kid in 1900. The only other big robber y that Butch pulled of f between these years (which Siringo does not mention) w as the mine payroll at Castle Gate, Utah, in 1897, while Curry’s bank and train holdup record (mostly trains) averaged one a y ear from 1897 to 1901. And although Siringo stated that Cassidy w as “the shrewdest and most daring outla w of the present age,” he also once referred to him as “the notorious ‘Butch’ Casiday of the ‘Kid’ Curry gang.”2 Interestingly, the friendship betw een Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid depicted in the film of the same name, could be applied more aptly to the Sundance Kid and Kid Curry. The two “Kids” were virtually inseparable from 1897 through 1900, with Sundance and Butch pair ing for the first time to hold up the bank in Winnemucca in September 1900. A few months after this, Butch, Sundance, and his girlfriend , Ethel (sometimes referred to as Etta) Place, took of f for New York City and South America. They tried to persuade Kid Curry and Will Carver to join them in South America, but both were adamant about remaining in the United States. Kid Curry’s reputation as a b lood-thirsty killer, owing in no small portion to the early writings of James D. Horan, is mainly unwarranted. Encyclopedias of western outlaws and gunfi ghters (which are notoriously inaccurate, using man y unreliable sources) per petuate this myth by totaling his number of killings as high as eight or nine, with some sources stating the fi gure as high as for ty. In addition, the Pink erton National Detective Agency was always...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781574414769
Print ISBN
9781574414707
MARC Record
OCLC
811411463
Pages
464
Launched on MUSE
2012-09-21
Language
English
Open Access
N
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