From researching the Wild Bunch and the Wilcox train robbery, a stubborn widow and an outlaw failing to reform were born. Along with these two wild and wonderful characters, Butch, Sundance, Etta and the boys came to life and joined forces to wreak havoc on the Wyoming countryside.
First let me give you a little peek at the Hole-in-the-Wall.
The area was (and still is) isolated taking about a day’s journey by horseback from any semblance of civilization. It is a steep climb to the top of the Wall, but overlooking the country below it is no wonder this location was chosen. With sweeping 360 views the pass was well situated to spot approaching lawmen and the narrowness of the approach made it easy to defend. The grassy plateau at the top and creek bed of the canyon below made it a good spot to graze all the rustled cattle.
In this area in the 1880s and 1890s, rustlers grazed stolen cattle and provided refuge to outlaws. Inhabitants of the six cabins that stood in the valley were known as the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. Members of the gang included Bob Smith, Al Smith, Bob Taylor, George Currie, Tom O’Day, and the Roberts Brothers. Later Robert Leroy Parker (Butch Cassidy), Harry Longabaugh (the Sundance Kid), and Harvey Alexander Logan (Kid Curry).
A trestle across the Union Pacific near Wilcox, Wyoming at 1:00 a.m., June 2, 1899, forces the Overland Flyer to halt. Men wearing masks made from white napkins, possible stolen from the Harvey House Restaurant, boarded the train. One of the men after unsuccessfully forcing the engineer to pull the train forward, clubbed the engineer with a gun butt and pulled the train forward himself. The trestle was dynamited to prevent the second section of train from catching up. The train was pulled forward two miles and stopped.
then Union Pacific Superintendent W.L. Park wrote that the railroad had actually lost more than $50,000, some of it in gold. The outlaws escaped in a northerly direction, toward the Hole-in-the-Wall, a well-known outlaw enclave in the middle of Wyoming. - See more at: http://www.historynet.com/the-wilcox-train-robbery.htm#sthash.RHe0zya9.dpuf
Even though the men were masked immediate suspicion fell on the Wild Bunch. Other newspapers identified the culprits as the Roberts brothers and reported the robbers to be George Currie and the Roberts brothers. It is now believed the name “Roberts” was used by Sundance and Harvey Logan. Authorities believed some of the robbers were headed for the Hole-in-the-Wall. Posses gave chase. Near Teapot Creek some of culprits were cornered by a posse led by Converse County Sheriff Joe Hazen. In the ensuing fire fight, Sheriff Hazen was killed and the train robbers made their escape by swimming across the river.
The members of the Wild Bunch involved included: "Flatnose" George Curry, Harvey Logan "Kid Curry," Lonnie Logan, Harry Longabaugh "Sundance Kid," Ben Kilpatrick "The Tall Texan," and Will Carver. Butch was thought to have been the mastermind behind the robbery, but did not participate in the actual robbery. In 1896, Butch was pardoned by Governor William A. Richards from the Laramie Penitentiary. The condition of this pardon was Butch promised to never again participate in any crimes within Wyoming's borders.
The Wilcox train robbery became one of the most famous train robberies in the West. A year later the Wild Bunch held up a second train near Tipton, Wyoming. While these robberies were successful, they also signaled the end of the Wild Bunch. Butch, Sundance and Etta made their way to South America. Other members were eventually tracked down and killed or imprisoned.
In one of those history makes a great a story, poor Agent Woodcock was the agent aboard the train during the Tipton train robbery.
The Flyer also carried horses...And that's where Jake and Ellie enter the picture.
GIVEAWAY: Today I'm giving away THREE e-book copies of THE WIDOW'S LAWMAN, so you can have a chance to join the fun. Please leave a comment and your contact information for a chance to win.
Join Jake, Ellie, Butch, Sundance and the Wild Bunch on the track to true love...and a lot of shenanigans along the way.
Outlaw Jake Avery is handed an ultimatum--hang for his crimes, or become the new Sheriff of Sheridan, Wyoming. When he chooses the life of a lawman, he doesn’t expect a local widow woman to tangle with his emotions.
Ellie Reed needs Sheridan’s new sheriff to help her rob a train, and recover her late husband’s treasured property. She doesn’t expect the outlaw-turned-sheriff to steal her heart, as well.
As the train barrels through Wyoming, Jake and Ellie plan a robbery to avenge the past. But can they heist a future together?
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