The Kurgan—who was among the members of the Kurgan tribe where he was taken in and named Victor—was born in what is now Russia on the border of the Caspian Sea. His tribe, the Kurgans, Juan Ramírez notes, were infamous for their cruelty, and were known to toss children into pits full of starved dogs, and watch them fight for meat for amusement.
In 1536, the Kurgan hired himself out to Clan Fraser in their battle with the MacLeod clan, in exchange for allowing him to be the one to kill Connor MacLeod. In the midst of the battle, the Kurgan challenged MacLeod. Before Connor could strike, the Kurgan ran him through with his broadsword. However, Connor's cousins Angus and Dougal (along with other members of his clan) beat the Kurgan back, rescuing Connor from certain beheading. The Kurgan promised he would finish it, screaming: Another time, MacLeod!! Five years later, another Immortal, Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez, sought out the now fully Immortal MacLeod as the only hope of defeating the Kurgan. However, the Kurgan discovered this, and tracked them down to MacLeod's home. MacLeod was away, but Ramírez and Heather MacLeod, Connor's wife, were there. He battled Ramírez, who managed to slice Kurgan's throat (though not deep enough to behead him) before being impaled and decapitated himself; all while Heather watched. After taking Ramirez's Quickening, the Kurgan raped Heather and departed. MacLeod returned shortly after, narrowly missing his enemy.