restricted access 9. Red Lodge and Capture
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67 CHAPTER 9 Red Lodge and Capture I t is not cer tain whether the Belle Fourche bank robbers were in the Hole-in-the-Wall when the famous fight occurred there between the rustlers and some in vading cattlemen on Jul y 22, 1897. The latter party consisted of tw elve 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 w as 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 F ourche robbers.2 Waller does not cite his source for this; however, it shouldn’t be discounted since Divine stated in a Januar y 1, 1897, letter that he w anted warrants turned over to him from Natrona County Sherif f 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 During the roundup three men of the r ustler clique, Al Smith, Bob Smith, and Bob Taylor, rode up to the party of cattlemen. A fight ensued in which Bob Smith w as mortally wounded, and Bob Di vine and his son Lee were slightly wounded. Bob Taylor was captured, but Al Smith escaped after his gun was shot out of his hand. Although the cattlemen got the best of this encounter, they were afraid of rustler reinforcements and decided to pull out of the Hole, leaving behind all the cattle that had been gathered.4 A second roundup was scheduled to commence on Jul y 30 with a total of fifty-four men par ticipating. This large group consisted not onl y of cattlemen, but also numerous la w officers from Johnson and Natrona counties (Sheriff Sproal among them), and a force of Montana li vestock inspectors under W. D. “Billy” Smith. Sherif f Butts of Butte County , South Dakota, and one of his deputies, still searching for the Belle F ourche 68 Chapter 9 bank robbers, were also part of the group. This time the roundup successfully recovered about 500 head of stolen cattle, and a verted any serious confrontations with the r ustlers.5 At least a fe w days before this second roundup began, Kid Curry and other Belle Fourche robbers headed south to Powder Springs to rendezvous with Butch Cassidy’s gang.6 At the end of three months of hiding at Robbers Roost, Utah, after the Castle Gate robbery, Butch Cassidy and his friends were getting restless and wanted to go somewhere to spend the loot. Ov er the next few days as they rode north toward Brown’s Hole, they decided the best and safest place to celebrate was in Dixon and Baggs, two small cowtowns on the Little Snake River a few miles north of the Wyoming-Colorado border in Carbon County.7 Although Baggs may have been small in those days, “Baggs was a busy town,” stated Boyd Charter (son of Bert Charter), “a crossroads of pioneer tra vel. The country between Baggs and Ra wlins was wide-open and uninhabited.”8 On the way the outlaws rode through their Powder Springs hideout, located about halfway between Baggs and Brown’s Hole. Here Cassidy, Elzy Lay, and other gang members, w ere joined by Kid Curry, Walt Punteney, possibly George Currie, and Sundance , who came over from Reader Cabin Draw.9 There is a good probability that Sundance had met and w orked with Butch and Elzy before this; however, this was possibly the first time that Curry had met them. Butch and Sundance are said to ha ve worked for Ora Haley’s Two Bar Ranch in Bro wn’s Hole at v arious times within the last two years.10 The weathered and dilapidated ranch buildings now lie deserted beside the meandering Green River. Butch was in the valley after his release from prison in early 1896, and he also took refuge there after the Montpelier robbery with Elzy. They hit Dixon fi rst on July 29, 1897, and shot up the to wn like a bunch of cowboys just coming off a trail drive. After trying to drink the town dry and chasing all the residents from the streets, the gang jumped on their horses and rode w est six miles...


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Subject Headings

  • Logan, Harvey, ca. 1867-ca. 1910.
  • Outlaws -- West (U.S.) -- Biography.
  • Train robberies -- West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Frontier and pioneer life -- West (U.S.).
  • Crime -- West (U.S.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • West (U.S.) -- Biography.
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