SCOUTING YESTERDAY: Belle Fourche heist precursor to Sundance Kid's South American escape
This week in South Dakota history: Oct. 18-24
After nearly a year on the run, the Sundance Kid and the “Wild Bunch” were back to a life of crime 125 years ago, this time robbing post offices, according to the Oct. 20, 1898, edition of The Dakota Chief.
The Wild Bunch were members of a loose confederacy of outlaws known as the Hole in the Wall gang. Comprised of several bandits that worked independently, the gang used a location known as the Hole in the Wall in Johnson County, Wyo. as a hideout. The Hot Springs Weekly Star reported cattle theft had been their chief occupation.
But Harry Longabaugh, also known as “The Sundance Kid,” as well as George Curry, Tom O’Day, Harvey Logan and Walt Punteney had their eyes set on a bigger prize in June 1897. The Butte County Bank in Belle Fourche was full of the stockmen’s cash.
The heist didn’t go as planned, however. Aberdeen News reported that after spending his day at Bruce Sebastian’s Saloon, a drunken O’Day was left behind on lookout while the rest of the gang went after the $30,000 held at the bank, a loot worth more than $1 million today.
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