Butch Cassidy, AKA Robert LeRoy Parker

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Butch Cassidy, AKA Robert LeRoy Parker

Butch Cassidy
Butch Cassidy.jpg
Butch Cassidy

Butch Cassidy (April 13, 1866 – ca. November 7, 1908), born Robert LeRoy Parker, was a notorious American train robber, bank robber and leader of the Hole in the Wall Gang.
Butch Cassidy, Robert LeRoy Parker, Train Robber, Sundance Kid, Wild Bunch
Born: 1866 in Beaver, Utah
Died: unknown
Parents: Maximillian Parker and Ann Campbell Gillies
Butch Cassidy was a infamous horse thief, cattle rustler, bank robber and train robber. Butch Cassidy was associated with the Sundance Kid, and organized the Wild Bunch
(Right) Robert LeRoy Parker (alias Butch Cassidy) poses in the Wild Bunch group photo, Fort Worth, Texas, 1901.

The wild bunch were good train robbers. Train robbers made a good living till the railroads learned how to stop the train robbers with their special detectives. Butch Cassidy spent time in Wyoming State Penitentiary but was never known to have killed a man.
Two stories exist of  the Butch Cassidy death: one that Butch Cassidy died in a gun battle with Bolivia troops on November 7, 1908 (age 42). The second has Butch Cassidy, according to the family, returning to the states and living anonymously for years; this second story has Butch Cassidy dying in Spokane, Washington, in 1937.

(Related reading below.)

Recommended Reading: Digging up Butch and Sundance (Second Edition). From Library Journal: Legend has it that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were killed in a gunfight with Bolivian soldiers in 1908. Author Meadows and her husband, Dan, spent good parts of the years 1986-93 researching the outlaws and searching for their graves. Both a history of the famous pair and a South American travelog, this book is packed with painstaking detail of tedious research conducted in various archives, courthouses, newspaper morgues, and the Library of Congress. Continued below…

It's sprinkled with stories of adventurous backroad travel through Argentine pampas, Chilean deserts, and Bolivian mountains in rental cars, buses, trains, and trucks. Meadows spins a decent mystery story, but the detail of the research overwhelms the excitement she creates, so much so that finally the reader doesn't care much how the mystery is resolved. Recommended for comprehensive Western Americana collections. Thomas K. Fry, University of Denver Library. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Publishers Weekly: After Meadows and her husband learned that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had ranched for several years in their beloved vacation stomping grounds of northern Patagonia, the couple became obsessed with pinning down the last days and deaths of the legendary 19th-century outlaws. For seven years they chased rumors in Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, twice mortgaging their house in order to hunt down facts that had eluded police, Pinkerton detectives and historians. Starting in Patagonia, the two amateur detectives ferreted out thousands of letters, documents and newspapers; located South American neighbors and U.S. relatives of the bandits; visited supposed hideouts; exhumed coffins said to contain their remains; and had bones analyzed for DNA clues. Nothing satisfied Meadows until she and her husband chose to believe an account, once dismissed by Pinkertons as false, that had been told by a hostage taken by the outlaws the night before they were killed by Bolivian soldiers. The account established the year (1908), place (San Vincente) and manner of Cassidy and the Kid's deaths. Unfortunately, the drama of this obsessive pursuit is buried under Meadows's overwhelming detail, which supplants the colorful bandits themselves, the exotic locales and any insight into the compulsion that drove her and her husband. Illustrations not seen by PW. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Recommended Viewing: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) (1969). Description: Paul Newman and Robert Redford set the standard for the "buddy film" with this box office smash set in the Old West. The Sundance Kid (Redford) is the frontier's fastest gun. His sidekick, Butch Cassidy (Newman), is always dreaming up new ways to get rich fast. If only they could blow open a baggage car without also blowing up the money-filled safe inside. Continued below...

Or remember that Sundance can't swim before they escape a posse by leaping off a cliff into rushing rapids... Times are changing in the west and life is getting tougher. So Butch and Sundance pack their guns, don new duds, and, with Sundance's girlfriend (Katharine Ross), head down to Bolivia. Never mind that they don't speak Spanish - they'll manage somehow. A winner of four Academy Awards (including best screenplay and best song), here is a thoroughly enjoyable blend of fact and fancy done with true affection for a bygone era and featuring the two flashiest, friendliest funniest outlaws who ever called out "hands up!"


Recommended Reading: The Outlaw Trail: A History of Butch Cassidy and His Wild Bunch. Description: The Wild Bunch, the confederation of western outlaws headed by Butch Cassidy, found sanctuary on the rugged Outlaw Trail. Stretching across Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, this trail offered desert and mountain hideouts to bandits and cowboys. The almost inaccessible Hole-in-the-Wall in Wyoming was a station on the Outlaw Trail well known to Butch Cassidy. Continued below…

To the south, in Utah, was the inhospitable Robbers’ Roost, where Butch and his friends camped in 1897 after a robbery at Castle Gate. Charles Kelly recreates the mean and magnificent places frequented by the Wild Bunch and a slew of lesser outlaws. At the same time, he brings Butch Cassidy to life, traces his criminal apprenticeship and meeting with the Sundance Kid, and masterfully describes the exploits of the Wild Bunch.


Recommended Viewing: Investigating History - Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (History Channel) (DVD) (2004). Description: The last bandit riders, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were America's most famous outlaws in 1900. Cassidy and his Wild Bunch robbed banks and trains along an outlaw trail from Wyoming to Colorado to Southern Utah. Continued below…

But with Pinkerton detectives pursuing, Butch and Sundance fled to South America. Trapped by Bolivian officers, they died in a bloody gunfight. Or did they? Was Butch reborn as William T. Phillips in Spokane 20 years later? Did the West's last badman escape the law in the end?


Recommended Reading: The Shooters. Description: With a scholar's authority and a storyteller's passion, Leon Metz chronicles the lives of famous gunfighters like Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, and Wild Bill Hickok, as well as lesser known desperadoes who left just as many corpses and whiskey bottles in their wake. Rich in detail, and woven with wit and insight, these fascinating portraits reveal The Shooters as they really lived, fought and died.


Recommended Reading: Doc Holliday: The Life and Legend. From Booklist: Doc Holliday, one of the most famous western gunfighters, died of tuberculosis at the ripe old age of 36. But he left behind him a legend so immense that, even with the addition of this effusively sourced biography, the truth about the man may never be known. There are a few facts: Holliday was a dentist, he became a gambler and a gunslinger, and he was involved in the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral. Continued below…

But around Holliday has been constructed (by scholars, by outlaw-turned-author Bat Masterson, and by various Hollywood moviemakers) a life story that is made up substantially of myth and misunderstanding. The real John Henry Holliday, according to Roberts, was "a man seen almost entirely through the eyes of others." Roberts' role here is a bit like that of a judge, examining the testimonies and deciding which witnesses to believe and which to discard. The result is an engagingly written, persuasively argued, solidly documented work of scholarship that will surely take its place in the literature of the Old West. David Pitt. Copyright American Library Association. From Publishers Weekly: Roberts, an authority on western history, takes on John Henry Holliday, legendary gunman, drinker, gambler and dentist (hence "Doc"), best known for some adroit shooting at the OK Corral on October 26, 1881. This is part biography, part debunking of myths and part archive of accounts of the lives of Holliday and the Earp Brothers written from the time they were alive up to the present. Roberts is effective in evoking the influences that formed his subject's character. Born in Georgia in 1851, Holliday absorbed the manliness and rebelliousness instilled in young men of his prosperous class in antebellum Southern culture. Holliday also acquired expertise in drinking, whoring and gambling, as well as a taste for violence. Roberts is measured in evaluating the myths associated with Holliday's exit from Georgia and his nomadic life in Texas, Colorado and Arizona. This brings the author to Tombstone, and the fray featuring Holliday and the Earps against the Clantons and McLaurys. You can't beat this story for drama, and Roberts provides a step-by-step account of the gunfight. Some chapters are unduly packed with Roberts's massive research. But without it, the book would not have been what the author plainly intends—an omnibus of everything ever known, spoken or written about Doc Holliday. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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