Before he became a murderous outlaw, Kid Curry was a young Montana Cowboy. In 1894, he was ranching with his brother and a friend in what is now Phillips County when local lawman/miner Powell Landusky supposedly began to harass him. By some accounts, Powell attacked Curry (believing Curry to be romantically involved with his daughter) and even arrested Curry and had him beaten. After his release, Curry sought to get even with Landusky by punching him at the local saloon. Curry punched Landusky so hard that he stunned the lawman and he began to walk away when Landusky pulled a gun on him. One of Curry’s friends tossed him a pistol (as Curry was unarmed) and Curry shot Landusky dead. Curry was arrested but released shortly after because the killing was viewed as an act of self-defense. A trial was set but Curry fled the area. The Judge was a close friend of Landusky’s and Curry did not believe he would be tried fairly. In the years to come Kid Curry would become a famous outlaw and an embodiment of the Wild West.
So wild was Curry that he became Montana’s addition to the Wild Bunch. The gang headed by the infamous Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, inducted Curry in 1899. He gained the title of “the fastest gun in the West” and was said to be able to drop a silver dollar off his hand, draw, and fire five shots before the coin could hit the ground. Curry’s name preceded him and contributed greatly to the Wild Bunch’s frightening reputation.
The Wild Bunch performed robberies throughout the West, including the state of Montana. Curry and the Sundance Kid robbed a bank in Red Lodge and later, the Wild Bunch met up to rob a Great Northern Train near Wagner. While Butch Cassidy and Sundance covered the passengers, Curry used dynamite to blow the train’s safe and steal over $60,000. With a posse hot on their trail, the Wild Bunch escaped to Curry’s hideout in the Missouri Breaks. Curry and other outlaws would take refuge in this area many times.
In 1902, Curry was captured in a Tennessee pool hall. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison but escaped the following year. During a robbery in Parachute, Colorado (1904) Curry and two others stole a fresh set of horses for their getaway. The horses’ owner, Roll Gardner, pursued the gang and with the help of a posse was able to rundown Curry and his allies. The posse shot the gang’s horses out from under them and Gardner fired at Curry wounding him. Curry, refusing to be captured, turned his gun on himself.
Kid Curry reputedly killed at least eleven men in his lifetime and was the father to as many as eighty-five children. He is buried at Pioneer Cemetery, a short distance from gunfighter Doc Holliday’s Memorial.