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Powder River Trail - Hole In The Wall

Land Of Shining Mountains
Larry E. Heck | Writer
Posted February 1, 2010

Part II: Bank Robbery Getaway

Lewis and Clark entered Montana as part of their expedition from 1804 to 1806. They were searching for a water route that would provide access to the Pacific Ocean. They found a land where Indians migrated in step with enormous herds of buffalo.

During the 1880s, cattle barons discovered the plush grazing lands in Montana. They brought herds of cattle from Texas and claimed thousands of acres as their own. Among those ranches was one known as the Hash Knife Ranch. Kid Curry was friendly with a horse wrangler working on the ranch. For that reason, it was chosen as a good place to stash a relay of horses to be used after the bank robbery in Belle Fourche, South Dakota (we covered the bank robbery and trail to Hash Knife in the January 2010 issue, "Hard Ride to Hash Knife, Part I: Bank Robbery Getaway").

Kid Curry, Sundance Kid, George Curry, and Walt Puteney arrived at the Hash Knife on Box Elder Creek from different directions. They had taken separate trails to make it harder for a posse to follow. After a short reunion, they decided to split up again and take separate trails to Hole in the Wall in Wyoming.

Retracing the gang's steps, this article's author Lone Writer and his friend Happy Jack left Hash Knife and spent the night in the national forest south of Ekalaka. They decided to follow the Powder River all the way back to Hole in the Wall. To make that connection, they headed west to the ghost town of Powderville. The Powder River originates in the Big Horn Mountains near Hole in the Wall in Wyoming. It flows on a Northeasterly course into Montana and empties into the Yellowstone River.

The Powder River Route crosses wide open country with very few signs of civilization. Most all of the route is unpaved. It crosses rolling hills with beautiful views of the river. Although the river is frequently in view, much of the land on both sides is privately owned and fenced. In several places, the road crosses the river and in one place a recreation area has been constructed.

It crosses about 260 miles with only a few places to purchase fuel. Lone Writer and Happy Jack had topped off their gas tanks in Ekalaka and were nearly empty by the time they passed through Kaycee in Wyoming.


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