The hotel across the street from the bank.
According to an account written by the sheriff in the posse, they were following the tracks of the outlaws and caught a glimpse of Walt Putney on a hilltop. They were not spotted by the outlaw. The posse split up and began to circle the outlaws. One group came upon Kid Curry unsaddling his horse. Curry drew his gun but was shot in the wrist by a member of the posse. He mounted his horse to get away, but another posse member shot the horse out from under him. Curry tried to get away on foot but dived for cover when a volley of bullets filled the air. He surrendered when it was obvious he had no other way out.
Sundance had also been caught alone and did not put up a fight when he saw how badly he was outnumbered. Putney was still doing a bad job as a lookout when he suddenly found himself looking into the barrels of several rifles.
The outlaws were taken to Billings, Montana, and locked up while telegraphs were sent back and forth to Belle Fouche to determine if they should be sent there and charged with bank robbery. They hadn't actually committed any crimes in Red Lodge, but Belle Fouche was eager to get them. Unfortunately, the jail in Belle Fouche had burned down when an inmate started a fire to keep warm. The nearest jail that could still hold them was in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Kid Curry, the Sundance Kid, and Walt Putney were taken to Deadwood on a train. Once they were behind bars, the lawmen no longer considered them to be a threat, and security became relatively lax. That was all the opportunity the outlaws needed. Kid Curry and the Sundance Kid overpowered their jailers and were once again on the run. This time, they were not captured.
The road from Red Lodge to Cooney Lake.
Lone Writer arrived at the crossing for Flatwillow Creek late in the afternoon. No attempt is made to claim that point was where the arrest was made, but it is a fork off the same creek. Most likely, the arrest was made a few miles farther east. The exact location was not documented. The account written by the sheriff simply stated it was about 20 miles from the town of Lavina. Kid Curry simply claims it was on the east side of the Little Snowy Mountains.
Regardless of where the arrest occurred, driving the Red Lodge getaway route is a great trip with endless scenic views and mild-mannered backroads. Be aware that the weather can change dramatically as clear skies become filled with clouds that dump rain and hail.
Lone Writer continued a few miles farther north to Lewistown for dinner and a shower. Lewistown began as a trading post and blossomed into a city. For a while, it was the end of the tracks for the railroad. In June of 1901, Kid Curry and Ben Kilpatrick arrived on that train and rented a horse for a ride into the Missouri Breaks. They were on their way to meet other members of the Wild Bunch with the intention of robbing a train west of Malta... but that's another story.
The road from Cooney Lake to Rapelje.
Larry E. Heck has been writing backcountry adventure stories since 1985. If you have an idea for a historic backcountry trail that you think Larry should consider, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (303) 910-7647. Those who are interested in driving the Outlaw Trail as featured in this series, can do so best by purchasing DeLorme's TopoUSA 6.0 mapping software for use on a laptop. The exact track used in the preceding account can be purchased from Lone Writer and loaded into TopoUSA. By using a GPS, the exact track can be followed. Visit www.lone-writer.com for more details.
Go to the visitor center on the north side of Red Lodge. The road to begin the trip is on the north side of the visitor center. Exit the parking lot on the backside of the building onto Villard Ave. N. Turn right and then go to the stop sign. Turn left on Third St. W. going west. Set your trip meter at this point.
|TRIP METER ||LATITUDE ||LONGITUDE ||NOTES |
|0.0 ||45 11.6872 ||109 14.8326 ||Corner of Villard Ave. and Third St. W. |
|2.6 ||45 12.8137 ||109 16.3211 ||Turn right on Red Lodge Creek Rd. Pavement ends. |
|17.4 ||45 24.3057 ||109 19.5325 ||Turn right staying on Red Lodge Creek Rd. |
|23.2/0.0 ||45 26.1696 ||109 14.0810 ||Cooney State Park with campground. Reset trip meter. |
|0.9 ||45 25.5109 ||109 13.7675 ||Stay left, staying on Red Lodge Creek Rd. along the side of the lake. |
|3.6 ||45 26.4615 ||109 11.4988 ||Left on Cooney Rd. |
|4.2 ||45 26.9083 ||109 11.2351 ||Left on pavement. Short paved section. |
|7.8 ||45 28.3727 ||109 14.5884 ||Right on Shane Creek Rd. |
|19.6/0.0 ||45 36.8438 ||109 16.7282 ||Right on Highway 78 to Columbus. Reset trip meter. |
|3.2 ||45 38.1980 ||109 15.1484 ||This is Columbus, MT. Turn right on Highway 10 which is E. Pike Ave. Follow it east to Columbus Molt Rd. |
|5.9/0.0 ||45 37.7705 ||109 12.0414 ||Turn left on Columbus Molt Rd. Reset trip meter. |
|5.0 ||45 41.7730 ||109 11.1088 ||Left on Lone Tree Rd. |
|12.9 ||45 47.8949 ||109 10.3477 ||Stay left around curve on Flat Rd. |
|18.4 || || ||About halfway between Columbus and Rapelje, using TopoUSA 6.0, you can pick out the landmark of Battle Butte in the distance on the left. |
|25.3 ||45 58.3357 ||109 10.3253 ||Turn left on Rapelje Molt Rd. |
|29.4/0.0 ||45 58.4544 ||109 15.2821 ||Rapelje lunch stop. Reset trip meter. |
|1.0 ||45 58.4750 ||109 16.5277 ||Turn right for Ryegate on Big Coulee Rd. |
|9.9 ||46 5.2760 ||109 15.8123 ||Left toward Ryegate staying on Big Coulee Rd. |
|13.8/0 ||46 7.9222 ||109 16.3189 ||Left on Golden Valley toward Ryegate. Reset trip meter. |
|0.3 ||46 7.9419 ||109 16.6820 ||Stay on main road going right. |
|6.3 ||46 11.4277 ||109 14.2874 ||Stay left around curve. |
|14.9/0 ||46 17.8354 ||109 15.3838 ||Cross Highway 12 in Ryegate. Gas and supplies available. Reset trip meter. |
|22.8 ||46 36.3978 ||109 15.7497 ||Right toward Lewistown on Red Hill Rd. |
|26.9 ||46 36.3984 ||109 10.7273 ||Left on Red Hill Rd. |
|29.5/0 ||46 38.1400 ||109 9.4493 ||Left on Red Hill Rd. Reset trip meter. |
|11.3 ||46 46.1674 ||109 11.4606 ||At this point the road follows the south fork of Flatwillow Creek. Anywhere along this creek could be the place where the outlaws were arrested. |
|41.3 ||47 4.1469 ||109 25.6535 ||Dinner in Lewistown. |