January 29, 2021
By Joel J. Hutchcroft
Born Harvey Alexander Logan in Iowa in 1867, Kid Curry was involved in so many shootouts that his life of crime seems like a made-up tale. Stories of his escapades abound. He eluded capture countless times, escaped from jail on more than one occasion, and killed as many as 30 men. Plus, enough mystery surrounds his last days that some say he even escaped death.
Kid Curry got his nickname after moving to Missouri and then Texas with his three brothers following their mother’s death in 1876. In Texas he fell in with a rascal named "Flat Nose" George Curry, and he took Curry’s last name for his own. So did his brothers. Kid was a law-abiding ranch hand until 1883, although he liked booze and brothels. Legend has it that he fathered as many as 85 children in those pursuits, but fewer than five is a more likely number.
In 1883 Kid had his first brush with the law when he was involved in a saloon brawl in Pueblo, Colorado. He had gone there while working a cattle drive. To avoid being arrested, he fled to Wyoming. His next trouble came after his brothers started a ranch in Montana with a herd of rustled cows. In 1894, thinking that Kid had been messing around with the daughter of a local miner/lawman, the lawman filed assault charges against him. Kid was arrested but bonded out. Not much later the lawman and Kid met face to face in a saloon, and when the lawman’s gun failed to fire, Kid shot him dead.
With that, the cat was out of the bag. Kid Curry went on to rob and kill throughout the West. His rampage extended across Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and Tennessee. He rode with the notorious "Black Jack" Ketchum gang for a short time and joined the infamous Wild Bunch on several occasions (including when they made the famous Union Pacific Railroad Overland Flyer passenger train robbery). He also formed his own band of outlaws.
From about 1899 until 1904, Kid was chased by posses and the Pinkertons. He often eluded capture, and even when he was caught, he usually escaped or was acquitted.
On November 30, 1902, he was captured in Knoxville, Tennessee. He had been playing high-stakes pool in a saloon when his opponent drew a revolver, so Kid smashed the man in the face with his own gun. The law arrived on the scene, and Kid shot three policemen, ran out the back door, and fell 30 feet into a culvert. An officer shot him in the shoulder as he climbed out, but he was able to flee. Twenty miles later, he was captured. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 20 years of hard labor. On June 27, 1903, he escaped.
Almost a year later, on June 7, 1904, a posse tracked him to near Parachute, Colorado, where he and two others had robbed a train. He got away again—temporarily.
The morning after the train robbery, the posse caught up with Kid, and Roll Gardner, who had joined the posse after Kid stole his horse during his getaway the day before, made a well-placed rifle shot and hit Kid. Kid scrambled behind a boulder, where he supposedly took his own life with his Colt .45.
But mystery surrounds his end. Some say it wasn’t Kid dead behind that big rock; the man had been misidentified. Some say Kid escaped and joined the Wild Bunch again and went to South America. Some say he disappeared and quietly lived out the rest of his life in parts unknown. His escapades became legends. He was fictionalized in novels, TV shows, films, and video games.
I can’t imagine him living out a quiet life, but no matter how he ended, during the 1890s and early 1900s, Harvey Alexander Logan, a.k.a. Kid Curry, robbed a bunch of trains and a few banks, and he killed at least 11 men, most of whom were lawmen.
Any way you look at it, he was definitely one maleficent malcontent.