Monty Barnett is a member of the modern day “Hole in the Wall” gang, a group of men who share a common interest in the history of the American West and who are dedicated to the preservation of our western heritage, and the perpetuation of the cowboy lifestyle and robust pastimes of the Old West. The gang was founded 38 years ago by a few men, led by Red Fenwick, a legendary columnist for the Denver Post. Although the members of the gang come from all walks of life and are scattered across the country, they all share a common love of the spirit of the West and outlaw traditions.
Since 1977 the gang has faithfully returned, on an annual basis, to the Red Wall country near Kaycee, Wyoming. Specifically, the gang meets up near the renowned Hole in the Wall every September, spending most of a week riding horses and camping where Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch actually hid out in the late 1800’s. This area is one of the most famous hideouts on the Outlaw Trail, which is a route that stretches from Montana to Mexico that was utilized by various outlaws during the time when outlawry was rampant following the Civil War.
This Red Wall country is steeped in history, serving as a notorious refuge for many over the years, including outlaws, cattle rustlers, thieves, and proud Native American chiefs, including Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Framed by the stunning Red Wall to the east, and the Bighorn Mountains to the west, the valley is fertile yet rugged, remote and hard to access. The Red Wall is approximately 300 feet high and stretches approximately 35 miles in length, with the Hole in the Wall being the only place that could be accessed by horseback for miles. The Hole is actually a notch in the Red Wall where a handful of men with Winchesters could overwhelm any approaching posse or small army. It historically served as a perfect place for outlaws to hide out. The area is arguably the most beautiful place in Wyoming, and it has gracefully held a front row seat to some of the most amazing events in the history of the American West. Here, one can still find Indian petroglyphs, teepee rings, and the skeleton of the cabin used by Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch.
Every September, the gang, and invited guests, converge to the campsite near the actual hideout of the Wild Bunch where they spend several days riding horses through this spectacular area, spending the evenings around a campfire where the history of the area and its inhabitants are discussed, lies are told, and a copious amount of spirits are consumed.