joined a gang and began his education robbing trains, before
going off on his own.
In 1893, he stole a horse in Rawlins, Wyoming, and was sent
to the penitentiary. Upon his release at age 30, he promptly
began his own successful gang. The newspapers called them “The
Wild Bunch.” The widows and children of men ruined by bankers
and barons called them heroes. For it was them that Cassidy
and his Bunch bestowed their generosity upon. They respected
this “Robin Hood of the West,” for not only was he generous,
but he lived by a moral code they could understand. A Mormon
bishop’s grandson, Butch was democratic with his gang, despised
heedless violence, and is often quoted proudly stating, “I have
never killed a man.”
Cassidy had big plans in sight. In April 1897, The Wild Bunch
committed a daring robbery. The gang did an average hold-up
of a coal mining company unloading payroll from the train. They
rode off with $9,000...in broad daylight.
Two years later, on June 2nd, they performed another daring
stunt at 2:30 a.m. Using a warning lantern to stop a Union Pacific
train, they detached the express car using enough dynamite to
be effective without injuring the guard inside. After discovering
uncooperation of the guards, they turned away and merely used
more dynamite to blow the safe open. As money flew through the
air, The Wild Bunch scooped up $30,000 and rode off. This amazing
scene later became the basis for motion picture’s first movie,
“The Great Train Robbery.”
After three more similar jobs, the Union Pacific attempted to
solve the problem. They offered to buy Cassidy out with a pardon
and a job with a good salary. Cassidy’s response was yet another
robbery. Furious, a man was sent to infiltrate The Wild Bunch.
After ruining many theft attempts, Chris Carter vanished.
In 1901, after a big bank robbery in Winnemucca, Nevada, the
group, along with Cassidy, had a portrait done. They then sent
a copy to the bank, along with a pleasant “Thank You” note.
A little later that year, Butch Cassidy ran off to New York,
along with Harry Longbaugh and his dame, Etta Place. After seeing
the city, Etta, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid sailed to
Buenos Aires. By this time, the whole group had made off with
$350,000 in 5 years. Butch knew it was time to relocate.
During the early 1900’s, the trio robbed trains and banks all
over South America. Then, in 1908, while cornered by soldiers
in San Vincente, Bolivia, Harry “The Sundance Kid” Longbaugh
was shot, enabling the escape of Cassidy.
Cassidy was never found. Speculation is that he escaped back
to America and died in 1937, under the name William T. Phillips,
in Spokane, Washington. This information was tentatively confirmed
by his sister, who lived until the 1970’s.
Through any speculation on the fate of Butch Cassidy and The
Sundance Kid, all that is known for certain is that they both
fulfilled their prophetic saying. “I will never be taken alive.”
Now learn the story of
the Famous Charlie Vecchio!