Monday, January 4, 2016


12/27/1894 - Festering for years, the feud between Pike Landusky and the Logan Family finally ends with violence and a killing in Landusky, Montana ... and a deadly outlaw career begins.

Landusky/Zortman Ghost Town

Now a ghost time, in 1894 the mining community of Landusky, Montana, consists of about twenty rudimentary log cabins and rickety clapboard houses near the banks of where Rock Creek leaves the southern edge of the Little Rocky Mountains on its journey south to feed the Missouri River, with most activities centering in a combination saloon and supply store that features a pool table.  It is an establishment where the namesake of the town, Powell "Pike" Landusky can often be found swilling rotgut whiskey and ranting about perceived affronts to his manhood and sense of justice.


One of the thousands to make his way west after the American Civil War in pursuit of golden riches, the Polish-French, six-foot Landusky leaves Missouri (in future days he will take great glee in answering questions as to where he is from with a fist to the questioner's face, and the exclamation, "Pike County, Missouri, by God!") for Montana in July of 1868, and is soon forging the type of life that resulted in the appellation "wild" being connected to west as a justified description of that time and place on the frontier before the 20th century begins.  In the decades leading up to 1894, Landusky will become a bare knuckle boxing champion, a businessman trading on the Flatwillow Creek, an Indian fighter (in one confrontation, he suffers a broken jaw, loses several teeth, and receives a large facial scar that he likes to display for intimidation purposes), drunkenly shoots up the Indian camp of a Blackfoot warrior named White Calf, attacks two Sioux Indians with a frying pan when the men make the mistake of asking if he has any breakfast to share, scalps three Indians he believes stole supplies from him in a previous encounter, throws another Indian in a fire when the man grabs a frying steak out of a skillet during a visit to Landusky's camp, runs a passenger and freight business between the towns of Maiden and White Sulphur Springs, owns a saloon and livery stable, marries Julia St. Dennis-Dessery in Maiden's first wedding (and takes over the upbringing of her five children, plus the two they will have together), is part of a group that discovers placer gold in the Little Rockies in 1884, survives a flash flood that destroys the log cabin quarters of his family, works as a cowboy between the Missouri and Milk Rivers for the DHS Cattle Company, survives the -60 degree, cattle killing winter of 1886-1887, finds pay dirt in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and starts the town of Landusky when in 1893, he discovers a three inch long sliver of gold while drinking from a local creek (the pocket of ore will eventually pay $13,000 a ton after picking).  Fornicating, brawling, and drinking are his favorite activities ... in no particular order.
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Landusky (In Fur Cap) & Friends - 1894

By way of Kentucky, Iowa, and Missouri, the Logan Family is also in the Landusky region of Montana, trying its hand at business and ranching, a clan consisting of oldest brother James, Hank, Harvey, Johnny, Lonie, and cousin Bob Lee ... hard men all that do not back down from fights, whether the clashes are with fists, or, with pistols.  One hundred and sixty pounds of muscled mean with a violent temper in a five foot and seven and a half inch tall package, twenty-seven-year-old brother Harvey, known to his siblings as "The Kid," is the family member no one messes with if they value their health.

Logan and Prostitute Della Moore

At first, relations are good between Landusky and the Logans, but things begin to sour when a plow is borrowed from the Logans and returned broke, and celebrating their drunken buzz, the Logans shoot up a Landusky outhouse one night.  When love is thrown into the mix, Hank attempts to date a school teacher living at the Landusky home, and Lonie starts secretly meeting Landusky's step-daughter Elfie, things turn volatile as the city founder begins telling anyone who will listen that he plans to kill Harvey and Lonie with his bare hands the first chance he gets ... and he gets that chance when local sheriff Jack Buckley arrests Harvey and Lonie on trumped up assault and disturbing the peace charges brought by Landusky and his friend, James Ross, and leaves the pair in Landusky's custody, after deputizing the town founder, until the matter can be settled by a judge.  Both Logans survive their incarceration ... barely.  Before being released and the charges dropped, Harvey and Lonie are chained in Landusky's milk house, fist beaten, kicked, stomped on, insulted (Landusky takes particular delight in calling their mother vile names), threatened with castration, get tobacco juice spit in their faces, and are finally urinated on.  Throughout the ordeal, Logan vows to give Landusky a worse payback once he is freed.
Outlaw Logan's Tramp Disguise

On a snowy morning two days after a large town Christmas celebration in which all local animosities are put on hold (over 100 people attend), Landusky is in "Jew" Jake Harris' saloon, keeping warm with shots of whiskey and games of whist when Lonie and the Logan's ranching partner, Jim Thornhill, enter and head into the store to buy some apples ... a ruse to keep Harris (an amputee from a gunfight that uses a loade shotgun as his crutch) from becoming involved in what is coming. Moments later, Harvey and his brother Johnny enter the establishment and suddenly everyone inside is facing Logan and Thornhill pistols, covered.  Walking directly over to where Landusky is sitting, without speaking a word, Harvey slaps his enemy in the face hard enough for Landusky's drink to be spilled and the bottle of whiskey he is holding to drop to the floor, and then follows that blow up with right to the chin that reunites Landusky with the fallen liquor.  Fight on, Landusky is the bigger and more powerful of the two, but Logan has youth, speed, and revenge madness on his side.  Grunts, groans, fist pops, and heavy breathing the only sounds in the saloon, in the five minute battle that ensues, Logan's pistol falls out of his pocket (picked up quickly by Thornhill) and he almost has his eyes gouged out before he is able to gain an advantage on his opponent that allows him to pummel Landusky in the face until the big man asks for quarter. Weary, one eye swollen shut, and covered in blood, Harvey grants the request and rises from his position atop Landusky's chest.  But the fight isn't over.
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Lonie Logan - 1900 - After Resisting Arrest

Righting himself, Landusky gains his balance, wipes some blood from his face, and then pulls a 7.62 mm semi-automatic Swedish Burchardt pistol out of a pocket in his fur coat, and pulls the trigger twice to no effect, forgetting that a bullet must be chambered first in the new-fangled weapon.  He does not get a third chance to put lead in Logan.  Seeing the plight of his partner and friend, Thornhill tosses Logan his pistol, and in a whirl of split second motion, Harvey grabs the weapon (a Colt .45 of course), pushes Landusky's gun away, and fires two shots into his adversary's chest (a third round is deposited in the wall of the saloon).  This time Landusky does not leave the floor, and after convulsing for a few moments, is soon dead.
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The Fight & Landusky's Pistol

Witnessed by over a dozen non-participants in the bar that include cowboys, miners, local laborers, a sawmill operator, and a saloon employee cleaning out the establishment's stove, the killing is an obvious case of self defense, but Harvey takes no chances with so many of Landusky's friends about the town and in the area ... weapon ready for more blood, he backs out of the premises, and with his brothers and Thornhill, rides away to the Logan ranch, packs up, and lights out (after receiving money from selling Thornhill his share of the Logan property) for the outlaw country of north-central Wyoming, and a place called Hole-in-the-Wall.  A matter eventually dropped by Montana authorities, it will make no difference to Harvey Logan when he finally gets the news as by then, he has morphed into one of the most notorious outlaws of the Wild West ... the "Tiger" of the Wild Bunch, Kid Curry, a gunslinger who will kill at least nine lawmen (and he doesn't give up revenge killing beyond Pike Landusky before he's done) before committing suicide when trapped and wounded by a posse after a failed train robbery near Parachute, Colorado in June of 1904 (or vanishing down to South American, like his friends, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid if that story is preferred).

Is It Him?

12/27/1894 - Harvey Logan begins his bloody outlaw journey!

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The Wild Bunch Celebrating In Fort Worth, Texas - 1900
Seated (L to R) - Harry "The Sundance Kid" Longabaugh,
Ben "The Tall Texan" Kilpatrick, and Robert Leroy
"Butch Cassidy" Parker
Standing (L to R) - William "News" Carver and Harvey
"Kid Curry" Logan

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