Sunday, April 5, 2015

FACT AND FICTION ON A COLLISION COURSE FOR A FUN STORY AND GIVEAWAY!! by Kirsten Lynn

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: http://www.historynet.com/the-wilcox-train-robbery.htm#sthash.RHe0zya9.dpuf

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 TWO 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?


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 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.
 
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20 comments:

  1. Loved all the historical information and the book sounds like a wonderful read.
    Kathy Watts
    Redrabbitt@aol.com

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  2. I can't wait to read it Kirsten! Best of luck on this new release.
    connie.bowen@gmail.com

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  3. Wyoming certainly has an illustrious history. It's a wild and beautiful place. I have heard of The Hole in the Wall and really enjoyed your blog bringing its history of famous outlaws to life.
    The Widow's Lawman is on my "to buy" list. I know it's going to be an exciting story. There certainly was a thin line between outlaw and lawman back then.
    Wonderful blog, Kirsten.

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  4. Kirsten, what a fabulous post! Aw, I remember ol' Woodcock from the movie. You sure have a wonderful way of bringing the past to life. Best of luck with the releases...just my cuppatea! xox

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  5. I vaguely knew some of this story, but certainly not in this much detail. It's fantastic. The success of these outlaws and The Outlaw Trail is great history.
    Great stuff, Kirsten.
    (While I would love a copy, don't enter my name. I'm the host of this blog...so it's not the right thing.)
    Thanks for the detailed accounting.

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  6. Kathy,

    So glad you enjoyed the history behind THE WIDOW'S LAWMAN. It's an interesting story whether you read the facts or fiction.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I do love when history and creativity collide. Great post and wonderful story. Doris

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  8. Thanks so much, Connie!! I hope you love Jake and Ellie's story when you get a chance to read it!

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  9. Sarah,

    Wyoming has so much history, I always love finding something new. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    I hope you enjoy Jake and Ellie's story. It was fun to write and include Butch, Sundance and the boys.

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  10. LOL, Tanya, Woodcock just can't get respect whether in fact or fiction. The poor agent couldn't catch a break.

    Hope you enjoy Jake and Ellie's adventure!

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  11. Celia,

    The history of the Wild Bunch and other outlaws who hid out at the Hole-in-the-Wall is always fascinating and that spot in Wyoming is very rugged. I can see why it made a great hide-out.

    So glad you enjoyed the post! And I hope you'll get a chance to read Jake and Ellie's story.

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  12. Doris,

    I love when I can add real people and events into a story and I had a lot of fun with Butch and Sundance in Jake and Ellie's story. I don't think Jake had as much fun, but he got his HEA so he didn't gripe too much. :)

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  13. Great stuff, Kirsten. I remember seeing a few movies about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and I've always been interested in finding out more about them and other famous outlaws of the West.

    Congrats on your new release. It certainly sounds like a great book to read.

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  14. Liette,

    Thanks so much. I really enjoyed including the Wild Bunch in this story, as if Jake and Ellie weren't wild enough. :)

    I always enjoyed the Butch and Sundance movie with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. And there are many more movies out there.

    Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy Jake and Ellie's story!

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  15. I can't wait to read this boom.It sounds so interesting..

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  16. I can't wait to read this bookIt sounds so interesting..

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  17. Interesting, informative post. Good job!

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  18. Fascinating thank you. Looking forward to reading more.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  19. I'm feeling generous today, so I decided to pull three names from the hat.

    Congratulations, Kathy Watts, Connie Brown and Tanya Hanson. I'll be in contact with the information to get your books!

    Hope you enjoy the story!

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  20. I really enjoyed this post, Kirsten. I didn't know the details of this train robbery--all I could remember was that Mr. Woodcock would not open the safe and suffered a concussion from the blast. This is so interesting! Sorry I'm late--better late than never! And I just want to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the spin you gave this story of yours, bringing in the actual gang and melding Jake's past to theirs. Wonderful!
    Cheryl

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