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36 CHAPTER 5 Hiding Out and Future Associates T he Kid had many friends all over northeastern Montana who were loyal to him and he could turn to for help. In fact, in order to grubstake his depar ture from the Little Rockies, the Cobur ns of the Circle C bought Kid Cur ry’s cattle and his 4T brand , and delivered the money to the hideaway.1 Curry may have been visiting the sur rounding ranches when, in about Januar y 1895, he ran into his friend Sid Willis at the mouth of the Musselshell Ri ver. Now sheriff of Valley County, Willis was chasing three escaped convicts from the Glasgow, Montana, jail. Curry had him covered, but let him go upon learning that he was not wanted by the sheriff. Supposedly he asked Willis to extend an invitation to Chouteau County Sheriff George McLaughlin to come get him.2 Curry and Thornhill stayed at and around the hideaway for the better part of six months before Cur ry quit the country and Thornhill finally came in and asked for a trial. 3 Robert Coburn of the Circle C put up bond for Thornhill, and he retained Donnell y and Knox for his counsel . Although some sources state that Thornhill’s case was dismissed without trial, he was actually tried and found not guilty on August 27, 1895.4 Curry headed for the famous outlaw enclave known as Hole-inthe -Wall, southwest of the present town of Kaycee, in Johnson County, Wyoming. It should be explained that “Hole-in-the-Wall” actually has two different designations. Generally it applies to the v alley of Buffalo Creek that was once a prehistoric lak e or river. An approximately thirty-fivemile long, 350-feet-high red wall of sandstone, running north and south, protects the valley on the east. The southern end of the Big Horn Mountains forms a barrier to the west. More specifically, the “Hole” refers to where the Red Wall cuts back shar ply to the east, for ming a V-shaped notch. Here the w all is steep, but not per pendicular, and covered with Hiding Out and Future Associates 37 talus. A slab of white rock shaped lik e an arrowhead lies in the center of the notch, marking the trail used b y rustlers driving stolen cattle and horses into the valley. Some writers, without first-hand knowledge, describe the notch as a somewhat level trail that is wide enough to allo w two riders abreast or a wagon to go through. Others question w hether there is a V-notch at all, stating that it supposedly exists. The author traveled to the Hole-inthe -Wall valley in September 2009, and w as guided to the notch b y the owners of the Willow Creek Ranch (originally the Kenneth McDonald ranch). There is no gap through the wall; one must follow a trail up and over the rim of the wall, single file, on foot or horseback. Surprisingly, with all the mythology that exists concerning the Hole, this outlaw hideout was not impregnable. To the north, south, and west it is surrounded by open rolling hills, which would not be a hindrance to any posse wishing to invade. And in addition to the V-notch, the eastern Red Wall has other openings or entrances, including one near old Bar num and a gap made by the Middle Fork of Powder River. Even so, few lawmen cared or dared to enter this outla w domain that pastured stolen livestock. There was no actual town in the Hole-in-the-Wall valley, just a half dozen cabins. The only thing left today of the famous Hole-in-theWall cabin on Buf falo Creek, is par t of the foundation barel y exposed in the earth. Today the area is still remote and isolated , and can only be reached by a few rugged dirt roads. A few ranches dot the wide g rassy valley through which Buffalo Creek runs. If Kid Curry did not meet the young George S. Currie and his family at their ranch in Hulett, Wyoming, while coming up the trail in 1884, he couldn’t help but run into him in this area of the country at this time. By 1895, George Currie had reached the pinnacle of his chosen profession, surviving the Johnson County War, and was said to ha ve acquired the title of “King of the Rustlers” after Nathan “Nate...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781574414769
Related ISBN
9781574414707
MARC Record
OCLC
811411463
Pages
464
Launched on MUSE
2012-09-21
Language
English
Open Access
No
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