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78 CHAPTER 11 Various Endeavors T he tri-state area, which included Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, was experiencing increasing activity from rustlers who found sanctuary in hideouts such as Robbers Roost, Bro wn’s Hole, Powder Springs, and Hole-in-the-Wall. Owing to the rising price of cattle, the problem became so g reat, it was reported that “The gangs ha ve almost depopulated the ranges within 200 miles of their retreats, ” with raids netting one hundred to five hundred head at a time.1 A meeting of cattlemen was held on February 15, 1898, in Rawlins, to discuss a plan of action. It was suggested that stock detecti ves should be hired and a re ward or bounty placed on the rustlers.2 It is difficult to trace the whereabouts and activities (criminal or otherwise ) of the various outlaws that rode with the Wild Bunch in 1898. The Pinkertons reported that Sundance spent the winter of 1897/1898 employed at the F rank Kelsey ranch, a neighbor of A. R. Reader, in the Little Snake River Valley.3 Within the January to March 1898 time frame, it has been stated that Kid Curry robbed a bank in Clifton, Arizona , in the company of Texas outlaw Ben Kilpatrick, and then to have taken a solo trip to P aris, France, with the proceeds. 4 Both incidents would have to be considered as hearsay, since they cannot be backed up by contemporary news reports or any other tangible evidence. It is not known if Curry was acquainted with Kilpatrick at this time, and it also seems quite out of character for him to tra vel to Europe, especially at this time of his life. A story in the Denver News of February 27, 1898, less than tw o weeks after the cattlemen’s meeting, may provide a clue to Kid Cur ry’s whereabouts: “For a week news has been coming to Casper of one of the biggest ‘cattle drives’ ever known to Central Wyoming. It appears that Harvey Ray and other escaped Belle F ourche bank robbers ha ve been Various Endeavors 79 joined by a party of Powder Springs thieves and together they are driving everything before them to the Hole- in-the-Wall region … There were upwards of twenty of the riders and they were well mounted and heavily armed.”5 Members of the tw o gangs, including outla ws from Robbers Roost, had assembled at Powder Springs. It is a good possibility that Kid Curry was among them; in fact, law officials believed that he was using Harvey Ray as an alias by this time.6 Another meeting of representati ves from the lar ge cattle concer ns was held in Den ver, which included the go vernors of Colorado and Wyoming, and a proxy from the governor of Utah. Initially, a plan was drafted to clean out the r ustlers who found sanctuary in Brown’s Hole. This entailed calling out the militia from the three states to estab lish a cordon around the Hole, then close in and preferab ly exterminate all rustlers encountered.7 It was clear from past e xperience that simply arresting the culprits would be a waste of time, since the y would shortly be out on bail, cleared of charges, or receive a short prison term at most. Then a letter written by J. S. Hoy was published in the Denver News of March 11, in response to the killing of his brother Valentine S. Hoy in Brown’s Hole over a week earlier.8 In the letter he states that the proposed plan to round up all the criminals in the Hole w ould be impossible to carry out. He argued that the presence of a large body of militia could not enter the country without the outlaws being alerted. His idea was to have one or two men familiar with the countr y “acting in concer t with resident citizens of good reputation,” stay on the trail of a criminal until he is hunted do wn. Hoy approved of killing the captured outla ws instead of arresting them, and felt that “A reward of $1,000 apiece dead or alive … will put an end to them and restore peace and security to man y a long-suffering and terrorized community.”9 Hoy’s letter influenced the governors’ conference held in Salt Lak e City three days later on March 14, 1898, in re gards...


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