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Saturday, April 25, 2015


Sometimes a story is born from an actual event in history. This is the case with my newest release THE WIDOW'S LAWMAN.  Butch Cassidy, Harry Longabaugh (The Sundance Kid) and the rest of their Wild Bunch are popular subjects of study near where I live, mainly because the Hole-in-the-Wall is right down the road.

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.

In Southwest Johnson County, Wyoming lying between the Red Wall and Big Horn Mountains is the most famous hideout on the Outlaw Trail, the Hole-in-the-Wall. Between roughly the 1860s and 1910, 30 to 40 outlaws stayed in the secluded spot including Jesse James and Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch.                                                                              

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.
There the express car was surrounded, and the attendant, E.C. Woodcock, was ordered to open the door. He refused. The car was blown up. Woodcock suffered a concussion from the blast and couldn't remember the combination to the safe. The gang blew up the safe. Initial reports stated the Wild Bunch made off with $30,000, some of the bank notes being scorched by the explosion or stained with raspberries also in the car. Later the superintendent of the Union Pacific, confirmed the gang made off with over $50,000 in stolen items, bank notes and even gold. 
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:

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?



 Kirsten Lynn writes stories based on the people and history of the West, more specifically those who live and love in Wyoming and Montana. Using her MA in Naval History, Kirsten, weaves her love of the West and the military together in many of her stories, merging these two halves of her heart. When she's not roping, riding and rabble-rousing with the cowboys and cowgirls who reside in her endless imagination, Kirsten works as a professional historian.


  1. What an interesting story. I love hearing the outlaw stories! I have this book and absolutely love it! (So I'm not entering) but thank you Kirsten, I learned something today :)

  2. Wow! History makes for good stories. This sounds so interesting. Another good read to add to my list. Keep them coming Kirsten

  3. I'm not sure if my last message went through since this is my first post. I love reading anything about the mid-late 1800's and this is a definite MUST read. I would love to win; but either way this book is coming my way. LOL Good luck to a wonderful author.

  4. Sounds like a lot going on in this story. Thanks for the chance to win.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  5. Hi to all!! Thanks so much for stopping by and Cindy, I'm thrilled you loved Jake and Ellie's story! Sorry for the group response, but I'm hiding out in Montana for the long weekend and avoiding the computer as much as possible. :) I'll announce the winners tomorrow! Thanks again for all the wonderful remarks!

  6. Hello Kirsten. Such a great story. I am curious, did Butch and Sundance continue with their lives of crime after they went to South America. I remember the movie butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, but I had no idea it was based on a true story.

  7. I knew the story was true. Some have said that Butch Cassidy came back to America, farmed on some land in obscurity and died in his eighties.
    The Widow's Lawman is going to be a fantastic story to read.

  8. Kirsten, you know I loved this story! Jake and Ellie are such a great couple! And I was crazy about Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid--well, okay, I was crazy about Robert Redford and Paul Newman! LOL I had a life-size poster of the two of them at the end of the movie when they're running out the door of that little cabin. Don't know what ever happened to that, but it hung on my wall for years and years. LOL

  9. Barb,

    The point of going to South America was to start a ranch. Two white men robbed a bank, it was never confirmed to be Butch and Sundance. After that they started a life on the run down

  10. Sarah,

    The rumors of Butch's return remain in those files of mysteries that will never be solved. I think it's hard for people to let go sometimes, but me personally I don't know how he could walk out of that shoot-out alive.

  11. LOL, Cheryl, I don't think anyone can fault you for loving Redford and Newman's Butch and Sundance. I love that movie, too, and the guy who played the poor agent Woodcock did a fabulous job. :)

  12. Okay, I'm back home and ready to give some books away, and I decided to give four copies...

    Nancy C.
    Sarah McNeal

    Send me your emails and I'll get an e-copy of THE WIDOW'S LAWMAN headed your way!

    Thanks to all for stopping by!!

  13. I'm sorry, I have everyone's email except Carolyn. Carolyn if you can give me your email I'll get that off to you!

  14. Thank you so much for the copy of The Widow's Lawman. I wanted this book the first time I read an excerpt from it. Happiness!

  15. You're so welcome, Sarah! I hope you enjoy Jake and Ellie's story!