“Hole in the Wall”: the legendary lair of bandits in Wyoming (8 photos + 1 video)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
16 May 2024

The leaf can be perfectly hidden in the forest, the diamond blends well with the water. And the bandits fit perfectly into the hole.

The Hole in the Wall Gang was a gang of outlaws in the American Wild West, taking their name from a hideout located at the Hole in the Wall Pass in Wyoming. Many criminals have made this colorful place their lair and home.

The gang itself was not one large organized group of criminals, but several different groups. The different gangs formed a coalition but rarely acted together. Occasionally they went out on business with each other, but usually they met only when everyone was in hiding at the same time.

Pass and gangs

Geographically, the pass was an ideal place for criminals to hide and evade authorities. It was easy to defend, and no one could get in without being discovered by those already there.

At the pass, the robbers created an entire infrastructure and hid supplies that allowed them to maintain their own horses and cattle. The robbers also built a corral, a stable and many huts. It is estimated that each gang had at least one or two of these structures scattered throughout the territory.

Ironically, the gangs that used Hole in the Wall were more respectful of their own laws, which they created there, than anywhere else outside the camp.

These rules included how to resolve disputes with other gangs and make sure not to steal neighbors' supplies. All this was based on general agreement and mutual respect: the coalition did not have a common leader.

Gang members

The gang included many famous people of their era. Among the most famous are Butch Cassidy and his “Wild Bunch”, as well as Jesse James.

The Wild Bunch included Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Elsie Lay, Tal Texan, Laura Bullion, Bon Mix and the Roberts Brothers. There were many other groups here, but few of them included so many celebrities. Notoriety comes with time, and most criminals had very short lives to become properly famous.

One day, a local rancher dispersed the gang's cattle that were occupying his pastures.

This event was called the "Fight at the Hole in the Wall." So the secret place was revealed.

Everything fell into place in 1897 when Bob Devine, an employee of the CY Cattle Company, gathered people from nearby ranches to confront the gangs. However, the Hole in the Wall bandits heard rumors, and they sent a note that said the following: “Don't stick your damn gray head in here again unless you want it shot off.”

But Devine did not lose heart and called on his supporters not to give up or retreat. He enlisted the help of many ranchers and cowboys, a livestock inspector, and a deputy U.S. Marshal named Joe LaForce.

The detachment passed the ranch, which was most often used by the gang, and, after walking about 5 kilometers, came across three bandits - Bob and Al Smith and Bob Taylor.

Devine and Smith have already had a confrontation. And the tension was so clearly felt between them that it seemed as if the air itself was vibrating. Devine asked if they had seen his cattle in the area. One of the Smith brothers is said to have responded, “Not one damn animal.” Smith believed Devine was going to pull a gun and opened fire. This led to an open firefight. Chaos began: dust flew up, stunned horses neighed, people screamed.

Butch Cassidy's Gang

When the shooting stopped and the smoke cleared, Bob Smith was lying on the ground with a bullet in his back. Bob Devine survived, but his horse was shot and his son wounded. Al Smith managed to escape with only a slight wound to his arm. Bob Taylor was captured and taken to a nearby prison before being released.

But the secret of the "Hole in the Wall" became known. And the shelter no longer protected the bandits. Encouraged by his own success, Divine returned again at the head of a detachment of well-armed men.

This raid was also successful, and the detachment managed to recapture several hundred head of cattle. Many gang members watched what was happening, but could not do anything.

The end of "Hole in the Wall"

Butch Cassidy

From the 1860s until about 1910, the pass was used by numerous gangs. It and the surrounding Middle Fork region currently comprise approximately 32,500 acres of public lands managed by the state.

The Hole in the Wall Gang retained its notoriety by appearing in numerous Westerns such as The Three Thieves, Baloo the Cat, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. And even the animated series “The Good, the Bad and Tigger” and “Scooby-Doo! Mysterious adventures."

Tom O'Day - one of the members of the Hole in the Wall gang

The gangs of the Wild West are a thing of the past. But this does not mean that today you can just go and come to the “Hole in the Wall”. The pass remains a remote, inaccessible and secluded place, which can be dangerous for an unprepared person. But from the top there is a steep climb over loose rocks and a magnificent view of the lands that witnessed a past filled with criminal romance.

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