Wild Bunch (aka the Hole in the Wall Gang) – 1899

By | November 12, 2016

“A man with that kind of nerve deserves not to be shot”

wild-bunch

This pose that captured the Wild Bunch aboard a Union Pacific train

THE CRIME:

The Wild Bunch consisted of a group of outlaws that included the Logan brothers, Harvey (known as Kid Curry) and Lonnie. On 27 June 1897, with Butch Cassidy (search the article), they robbed the bank at Belle Fourche, South Dakota, of $5,000. Two years later, on 2 June 1899, the Wild Bunch, Cassidy and the Sundance Kid robbed the Union Pacific’s Overland Flyer at Wilcox, Wyoming.

They stopped the train and Cassidy ordered the engineer, W.R. Jones, to uncouple the express car but he refused so Harvey Logan pistol-whipped him. Gang member William Elsworth “Elzy” Lay jumped into the cab and drove the train forward over a bridge but the gang had forgotten that they had dynamited the bridge. When the train came to rest they ordered the guard to open the express car door but he refused shouting, “Come in and get me”, so the gang placed a stick of dynamite against the door and the carriage was blown apart. The guard survived but Harvey Logan put his six-gun next to the man’s head, saying, “This damned fellow is going to hell.”

Butch Cassidy intervened, “Now Harvey, a man with that kind of nerve deserves not to be shot.” The gang collected more than $30,000 in bank notes and securities, which had been scattered by the explosion. The railway hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to track down the robbers.

WHERE:

Wilcox, Wyoming, USA

WHEN:

Friday 2 June 1899

THE AFTERMATH:

Cassidy decided that the gang should split up to avoid capture. He, the Sundance Kid and Ben Kilpatrick headed for the Hole in the Wall while the others, Harvey and Lonnie Logan and Elzy Lay, were surrounded by a posse near Teapot Creek, Wyoming on 5 June. Harvey Logan shot Sheriff Joe Hazen as the posse charged their position. The killing temporarily disunited the posse and the three gang members escaped.

Lonnie Logan was killed aged 29 by a posse 28 February 1900 in Dodson, Missouri. Harvey Logan committed suicide near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, on 8 June 1904, the day after he had robbed a bank and found jut a few dollars in the safe. Elzy Lay was arrested in August 1899 and, on 10 October, jailed for life. He was pardoned on 10 January 1906 and turned away from his criminal past. He died on 10 November 1934 at Los Angeles.

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Kid Curry in the Wild Bunch was nothing like the charming, affable, good-looking bank robber of the same name in the television show, Alias Smith & Jones. The real Kid Curry was a small, dark-eyed killer.

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