What really happened to outlaw Butch Cassidy?

What really happened to Butch Cassidy?  Was he killed, along with the Sundance Kid, in Bolivia?

Sitting (l to r): Harry A. Longabaugh, alias the Sundance Kid, Ben Kilpatrick, alias the Tall Texan, Robert Leroy Parker, alias Butch Cassidy; Standing (l to r): Will Carver, alias News Carver and Harvey Logan, alias Kid Curry; Fort Worth, Texas, 1900. 

Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch was one of the loosely organized outlaw gangs operating out of the Hole-in-the-Wall in Wyoming during the Old West era in the United States. It was popularized by the 1969 movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and took its name from the original Wild Bunch. The gang was led by Butch Cassidy, and it included his closest friend Elzy Lay, the Sundance Kid, Tall Texan, News Carver, Camila Hanks, Laura Bullion, Flat-Nose Curry, Kid Curry and Bob Meeks. They would become the most successful train-robbing gang in history.

Some have long believed that notorious outlaw Butch Cassidy survived the 1908 shootout in Bolivia that supposedly killed him—and now a rare books collector says he has a manuscript offering proof. Bandit Invincible: The Story of Butch Cassidy, a 200-page manuscript from 1934, is a much longer version of an unpublished novella of the same name by William T. Phillips. A book collector and author say the manuscript contains information only Cassidy knew, and could actually be an autobiography—meaning Phillips, who died in 1937, was actually Cassidy.

Phillips claims to have known Cassidy since childhood, the AP reports. He writes of Cassidy’s meeting with a judge in 1895 and of his encounter with a rustler who told him about a secret hiding spot, including details in both anecdotes likely known only by Cassidy, the collector and author say. But a Cassidy historian says it’s more likely that Phillips simply knew Cassidy or his friends, and calls the idea of Phillips actually being Cassidy “total horse pucky.” The manuscript, he adds, “doesn’t bear a great deal of relationship to Butch Cassidy’s real life, or Butch Cassidy’s life as we know it.”

Tell us what you think really happened to Butch Cassidy.

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Copyright 2011 MadMikesAmerica
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Posted by on August 16, 2011. Filed under CRITTER TALK. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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5 Responses to What really happened to outlaw Butch Cassidy?

  1. One Fly

    August 16, 2011 at 7:36 am

    I don’t know what happened in Bolivia but I find these guys interesting for sure.

    I throw these two things into the pot. The gang also hung out in Browns Park in extreme NW Colorado and just inside the state line in Utah on the Jarvie Ranch where the Bassett girls lived and became boyfriends of several of the men and visited Hole in the Wall as well. Some think Ann was Etta Place but that is not the case. This is the real thing with these places and not speculation. Didn’t people go down to Bolivia and dig up what they thought was a grave of one of the gang but came up empty handed. I found Ms. Bassett very interesting. She died in 1956 in Brown’s Park.



    • Michael John Scott

      August 16, 2011 at 11:00 am

      Thanks Tom. This is most interesting. I am fascinated by the Old West.

      • One Fly

        August 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

        These spirits continue to live up in that neck of the woods Mike. I understand that “Hole in the Wall” is only accessible by foot or horseback these days. Never been there myself.

        I got a huge kick out of this myself and may head back there this weekend.

  2. Barbara Pritchett

    January 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    On the “Unsolved Mysteries” TV show they had an expert do a handwriting analysis of William Phillips’ handwriting to see if it matched the handwriting of Robert Leroy Parker (a.k.a. Butch Cassidy.) The expert said the handwriting was close enough to make them believe that they were the same person. Also, I read Butch Cassidy’s sister’s book “My Brother Butch Cassidy” and she says he visited her after he came back from Bolivia. He told her that Sundance came back too, but he told her not to tell anyone. It wasn’t until her brother died in the late 1930’s in Washington state that she wrote her book. I have a copy of the book “Bandit’s Invincible” that has the writings of William Phillips. I became interested in what happened to the Sundance Kid when I saw an old picture of my grandfather and noticed his similarity to the Sundance Kid. He also had a sheep ranch in the Hole-in-Wall country and knew Butch Cassidy and his gang. Also, my grandfather’s first wife’s name was Greta, and her nickname was Etta.