Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One More Western Wednesday...!

It's funny to me that so many of the "legends" of the old west bear very little resemblance to actual history.

Often the real history of a person is far more interesting than the stories that have been made up over the years. Like most things, the legends often grow with every retelling. When that happens, it becomes a treasure hunt to find out the more accurate story. That's where sites like History.com come in so handy!

Nov 30, 1902:
Harvey "Kid Curry" Logan sentenced

Harvey "Kid Curry" Logan, the second-in-command in Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch crew, is sentenced to 20 years hard labor in a Tennessee prison. Though the famous Hollywood movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid portrayed Harry Longabaugh as Cassidy's main partner, Logan was his true sidekick and right-hand man.

Logan was born in Kentucky but spent most of his youth in Missouri. According to legend, he killed a man when he was 19 and was, thereafter, always on the wrong side of the law. On his own or with occasional accomplices, Logan became proficient at robbing banks and killing innocent people, which inevitably attracted the interest of law officers.

He eventually sought refuge in the isolated Hole-in-the-Wall hideouts of Wyoming. The Hole-in-the-Wall was a sparsely populated region of rugged mountains whose remote location attracted outlaws who were trying to lay low and avoid the law. Here, Logan made the acquaintance of a former butcher turned outlaw named Robert Leroy Parker, better known as Butch Cassidy. Cassidy and Logan became the informal leaders of a loose collection of outlaws called the Wild Bunch, which included Longabaugh, Ben Kilpatrick (Tall Texan), and a cast of other motley characters.

For several years, the Wild Bunch was one of the more successful criminal operations in the West, robbing banks and trains in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, and New Mexico, and successfully defending their Wyoming hideout from the law. The Wild Bunch even hired its own lawyer to defend its gang members, and their file in the Chicago offices of the Pinkerton Detective Agency became one of the thickest in the agency's cabinets.

Inevitably, though, the law and the Pinkertons began to close in on the gang. In 1901, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fled the country for Bolivia, and no one is certain what became of them. The evidence for Logan's fate is much clearer: most historians believe that after escaping from a Knoxville prison in June of 1903, he fled to Colorado, where it is believed he was wounded by pursuers and shot himself dead.

Seems to me that in this case, the real story is far more entertaining. Trouble is, Hollywood seems to rewrite history to their own liking. It may make for a more marketable movie, but the truth gets distorted in the process.

Coffee out on the patio again this morning. The roses are blooming, so it smells pretty good!

7 comments:

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

What a great post, Mr. Hermit - we always learn so much!
Our 7" of snow will melt today, I hope. I'll bring some graham crackers and apple butter for all.

linda m said...

I wish Hollywood would tell the true story instead of embellishing the truth. So many people learn their history from the movies and then wonder when it turns out false. Good one for today.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Some times the real history is more exciting than fiction, but then sometimes it is just boring. No me, I never get bored with history, especially the part I find on this blog.

Billy Bob said...

Seems like most history is written for profit in the entertainment business. Whether it's true or not, heros are born. Ned Buntline comes to mind.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
I'm sure glad that you enjoyed the post and that you feel you learned from it!

Bet you'll be glad to see the snow melt a bit! Graham crackers and apple butter...YUMMM!

Thanks for coming over today!


Hey Linda...
I guess that Hollywood figures we couldn't handle the truth.

Unfortunately, you are so right about folks learning their history from the movies! That's sad!

Thanks for coming over today!


Hey Dizzy...
I used to think that history was boring, but the more I learned, the more interesting it became!

Getting a little older didn't hurt, either!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by this morning!


Hey Billy Bob...
Right you are about history being twisted for the entertainment factor.

Thank goodness there are a few places around where we can learn all the "rest of the story!"

Thanks for dropping by today!

Sissy said...

I'm thinking ALL history has been written to someone's liking. Knoxville is fairly close to me. Notorious state apparently; my hometown, over the county line from me used to be known as Little Chicago! You educate me well, Hermit. Thanks. I'll pass on the coffee; seems it is skyrocketing my BP these days.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sissy...
I hate to say it, but I think you are right!

Didn't know that about Knoxville, that's for sure!

Thanks for coming over today!