11 Reasons Why Kid Curry Was the Wildest of the Wild Bunch
Many of the most notorious names in Old West outlaw history somehow ended up banding together in one of the best-known gangs: the Wild Bunch.
The crew known for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid also included Elzy Lay, the Tall Texan, Deaf Charley Hanks, and Bob Meeks — who really could’ve used a cool nickname like the rest — as well as News Carver, Flat-Nose Curry, and Kid Curry. Of these, Kid Curry was called “the wildest of the Wild Bunch.”
He was called other things, too, and none of them were flattering.
In fact, William Pinkerton, the head of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, called Kid Curry “the most vicious outlaw in America,” a man with “not one single redeeming quality,” and “the only criminal I know of who does not have one single good point,” according to some sources.
So, it seems that Kid Curry was one bad dude. Let’s look at eleven reasons why Kid Curry was known as the wildest member of the Wild Bunch.
1. Kid Curry basically raised himself.
Kid Curry’s real name was Harvey Alexander Logan, and he was born in Iowa in 1867. Both his parents died when he was young, leaving him and his five siblings orphaned.
They were sent to live with relatives, but when he was just nine years old, Logan hit the road. He and two of his rhyming brothers, Johnnie and Lonnie, went to Texas and found jobs at the Cross-L Ranch.
Logan, who hadn’t even been alive for a decade, worked breaking horses at the ranch, which I’m sure was a violation of child labor laws — if there had been child labor laws at that time.
Harvey, Johnnie, and Lonnie Logan eventually met up with a Canadian-born cattle rustler, George Curry, who went by the nickname “Flat-Nose.” I’ve seen vintage photos of him. His nose looks the opposite of flat to me. Remember Jamie Farr from M*A*S*H? There’s an uncanny resemblance.
Flat-Nose Curry was born in 1871, so he was four years younger than Harvey Logan and his brothers, but for some reason, the Logan boys adopted Flat-Nose Curry’s last name as their own. And being the kid brother to Johnnie and Lonnie, Harvey Logan began using the name “Kid Curry.”
Or maybe that was his rapper name.
2. Kid Curry allegedly fathered 85 kids.
As a teenager and young man, Kid Curry was really only interested in two things — whiskey and women — just like every other red-blooded American boy. When he wasn’t robbing trains, shooting people, or holding up banks, his time was filled with getting drunk and sleeping with prostitutes.
Lots and lots of prostitutes.
I mean lots: Kid Curry allegedly fathered as many as 85 children across Texas. Can you imagine paying that child support money? “Curry Kids,” as they were called, are the reason why Kid Curry has thousands of descendants roaming around to this day.
Related read: 8 Famous (and Infamous) Sheriffs of the Old West
3. Kid Curry had early run-ins with the law.
Sixteen-year-old Kid Curry feared arrest after a barroom brawl in Pueblo, Colorado, turned violent, so he fled to Wyoming. He got in trouble in Wyoming too, and skipped town once again.
In Montana, things got even worse for Kid Curry. A prominent local miner, Pike Landusky, believed that Kid Curry was sleeping with his daughter, so he attacked Curry and pretty much kicked his butt. Kid Curry had a lifelong tendency for vengeance, and several weeks later, Kid Curry ran into the miner again in a saloon and got his revenge.
The two exchanged punches. Curry thought the fight was over and turned to walk away when the miner pulled out a pistol. One of Curry’s friends gave Curry his gun, and the miner fired first, but his gun jammed — luckily for Kid Curry, but not for the miner.
Kid Curry shot him in the head, killing him instantly. Oh, and the kicker: after the miner was killed, his daughter confessed that she wasn’t sleeping with Kid Curry at all. She was sleeping with his brother, Lonnie. Oops.
Kid Curry was arrested, even though witnesses said he acted in self-defense. He didn’t stick around to see what the judge’s decision was. He skipped town again.
4. Kid Curry chilled with outlaw and train robber Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum.
Later, Kid Curry met up with Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum and unofficially joined his gang. He accompanied Black Jack and his crew on a few robberies in New Mexico, but Curry was a wanted man.
He was still accused of the murder of Pike Landusky back in Montana, and the Pinkerton detectives were trying to track him down. They also had help: Landusky’s friend, a rancher named James Winters, vowed to bring Curry to justice to avenge the death of his pal.
Or he just wanted the reward money. That was probably it. Winters was also spying on Kid Curry, and feeding info back to the Pinkerton agents. Kid Curry found out about this in early 1896.
One day, Kid Curry rode out to James Winters’ ranch with his brothers, Johnnie and Lonnie. He rode away from the ranch with just Lonnie. Winters, it seemed, was a pretty good spy.
He knew the Curry brothers were planning to confront him and was ready for their arrival with guns loaded. Johnnie was killed, and Lonnie and Kid Curry ran back to Black Jack Ketchum and his gang.
Related read: Laura Bullion: The Thorny Rose of the Old West
5. Kid Curry had a short-lived stint as a gang leader.
When Kid Curry had a spat with Black Jack Ketchum about his take of a train robbery hit, he did the ol’ fine-I’ll-start-my-own-gang-and-it’ll-be-better-than-yours thing. With Lonnie, his old buddy Flat-Nose Curry, and a few other characters, Kid Curry started his own gang.
For their first job, the gang botched a horse stealing attempt and Kid Curry killed a sheriff, one of a long list of law officers that he killed on the frontier. Then the gang tried to rob a bank, but this also ended poorly. One guy’s horse bolted on him, leaving him without a getaway car.
The rest of the gang was captured just outside of town and sent to the Deadwood, South Dakota, jail to await trial. They all busted out of jail on Halloween night 1897. There were no cool costumes involved, but that would have made for a great story, right?
During their time in jail, the gang members had time to evaluate Kid Curry as a gang leader and decided he lacked the foresight and leadership qualities that were needed to plan and execute Old West train and bank robberies. Kid Curry was better suited as a gang member than a gang leader.
Related read: 8 Murderous Facts about John Wesley Hardin
6. Kid Curry showed his distaste for lawmen as part of the Wild Bunch.
In the summer of 1898, Kid Curry and Flat Nose Curry teamed up with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as members of the Wild Bunch.
They were involved in a series of brazen robberies, and a handful of sheriffs and deputies were killed, maybe by Kid Curry. He certainly wasn’t shy about shooting lawmen. It was no secret that he didn’t like them much.
7. Kid Curry rode the revenge train.
Deputies showed up at a relative’s home in Dodson, Missouri, looking for Kid Curry and his brother, Lonnie, on February 28, 1900. Kid Curry wasn’t there — he was hiding out in a San Antonio brothel, like no one would think to look for him there (insert eye roll) — but Lonnie was. A gunfight broke out and Lonnie was killed.
Just two months later, on April 19, 1900, Flat Nose Curry was also shot and killed by law enforcement officers. Kid Curry was in Utah rustling horses when he got the news. The deaths of his brother and bestie by lawmen threw Kid Curry into a fit of rage.
Apparently, no one told him that being killed by the fuzz was an occupational hazard of being an outlaw. He rode off in search of the guy who shot his brother, Sheriff Jesse Tyler. He killed Tyler, as well as his deputy sheriff, Sam Jenkins, just for good measure.
Related read: 10 Famous Guns of the Old West, from Revolvers to Rifles
8. Kid Curry racked up the lawmen hits.
In St. Johns, Arizona, Kid Curry used some money he and the Wild Bunch scored from a Union Pacific Railroad heist months earlier. The bills were marked, and the local sheriff was alerted.
When he and two of his deputies tracked down Kid Curry, who was with Wild Bunch member Will Carver at the time, Curry and Carver killed them all. They decided to go to New Mexico where Butch Cassidy was, but another sheriff, George Scarborough, and his right-hand man, Walter Birchfield, tailed them.
By this point, you can see how this is going to end: with the lawmen ambushed and shot. Only this time, Birchfield survived his injuries. Rookie mistake.
9. The Wild Bunch celebrated some major scores.
Kid Curry was with the Wild Bunch when they netted $55,000 from a train robbery in Tipton, Wyoming, in August 1900, and $2,000 from knocking over a bank in Winnemucca, Nevada, a few weeks later.
The gang members met up at Hell’s Half Acre near Fort Worth, Texas, to celebrate their latest scores, discuss the next one, and possibly to attend a wedding. While there, they made the same mistake that many of today’s criminals make.
They took a selfie.
The Pinkerton agents, a tenacious bunch of guys, found out about the photo and plastered it all over Wanted posters across the country. Now, all eyes were on the Wild Bunch. Just weeks later, Will Carver was ambushed by lawmen in Sonora, Texas, and killed.
Despite the added scrutiny, the Wild Bunch went ahead with their plans to hit a Union Pacific train in Montana. They netted $60,000 from this robbery, a new personal record for the crew. The gang members headed off in different directions with plans to meet up again later.
Kid Curry, a man who could really hold a grudge and still burned with inner rage, stopped by the ranch of James Winters on his way back from Montana. If you were paying attention, you will remember that Winters was the rancher who killed Kid Curry’s brother, Johnnie, in 1896.
It took five years, but Kid Curry got his revenge when he murdered James Winters on July 26, 1901. Vengeance continued to be his theme of choice.
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10. Kid Curry allegedly bribed his way out of jail.
Kid Curry went to Tennessee to hide out, but he was never very good at keeping a low profile. In Nashville, he was arrested after trying to pass the bank notes from the Montana train robbery.
He easily escaped from jail, then headed to Knoxville, where he killed two local police officers, William Dinwiddle and Robert Saylor. Later, he got into a fist fight with police officers in a Knoxville tavern and was jailed again. Yet again, he quickly made his escape.
Rumors circulated that Kid Curry had bribed his way out of jail — twice — in Tennessee, but no one ever proved it. It could be that Kid Curry had Houdini-like escape artist skills, but that has also never been proven.
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11. Kid Curry went out on his own terms.
Kid Curry headed west again, and, on June 7, 1904, he robbed a train near Parachute, Colorado. A posse caught up with Kid Curry two days later and a gunfight broke out.
Kid Curry was wounded, but he vowed that the officers would never take him alive. As the officers closed in, Curry put his gun to his head and took his own life. He was 37 years old and had been living a life of crime for at least 25 of them.
There were 15 warrants issued for murder against Kid Curry during his crime spree, but he likely killed more than twice as many people, most of them lawmen. He robbed at least a dozen trains and even more banks.
Kid Curry was described as being “pleasant enough when he wasn’t drinking,” but I’m not sure that was a compliment. It sounds like someone trying hard to find something nice to say. Other descriptions of Kid Curry tend to be less flattering. He was known to be cruel, vicious, and heartless.
He had little regard for human life and often resorted to violence when violence wasn’t warranted. He was hot-tempered and vindictive. When William Pinkerton of the Pinkerton Detective Agency said Kid Curry had “not one single redeeming quality,” he wasn’t sugar-coating things.
Kid Curry really was the wildest member of the Wild Bunch.
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Sources & Further Reading
- He Rode with Butch and Sundance: The Story of Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan, Mark T. Smokov
- Kid Curry: The Life and Times of Harvey Logan and the Wild Bunch, F. Bruce Lamb
- The Deadliest Outlaws: The Ketchum Gang and the Wild Bunch, Jeffrey Burton
- Wild Bunch Women, Michael Rutter
- Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw, Charles Leerhsen
- The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Thom Hatch
by Karen Harris
Although Karen lives in the Midwest, she likes to put the emphasis on the "west." A freelance writer who specializes in American history, Karen has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Central Michigan University and a master's degree in English from Indiana University.