The state of Utah is set to restore a cabin that historians believe once housed a youthful Butch Cassidy. Located south of Circleville, Utah, the wooden structure will receive $138,000 in funding to disassemble and rebuild it from its currently-tilted condition. Born in Utah as Robert Leroy Parker in 1866, the son of two English Mormon immigrants, the future outlaw moved with his family to the cabin in 1879.
The Cassidy Cabin / Image – wyohistory.org
At the age of 18, after spending his teenage years working at local ranches, and influenced by a drifting ne’er-do-well cowboy named Mike Cassidy, the young Robert Parker left home to seek his fortune. That future would see him eventually become the famous Butch Cassidy, a name chosen to avoid shaming his family. Cassidy would go on to lead the “Wild Bunch”, a Western gang that targeted banks, trains and mining companies at the end of the 19th century. Cassidy has been remembered as an affable and generous man, who worked to avoid violence in his robberies.
As the 20th century dawned, Cassidy and gang member, The Sundance Kid (real name Harry Longabaugh), sought to escape the growing technological and logistical reach of law enforcement in the West. With Sundance’s girlfriend, the enigmatic Etta Place, the two men left for South America in 1901. After several years of the “straight life” as ranchers in Argentina, they returned to outlaw activity after being accused of an Argentinian robbery in 1905 that ironically, many historians argue they did not commit. On the run again, they returned to their bandit skill sets, with Ms. Place assisting them until she disappears from the historical record in 1906.
Current consensus is that Cassidy and Sundance met their end in a shoot-out with soldiers in San Vincente, Bolivia, on November 6th, 1908. Numerous anecdotal stories, however, claim that perhaps at least Cassidy did not die in South America and even returned to the United States. The Pinkerton National Detective Agency (now Pinkerton Government Services), which chased the Wild Bunch across the American West and tracked their South American movements, has in fact never declared Cassidy or The Sundance Kid officially dead.
Butch Cassidy in November 1900 / Image – dailymail.co.uk
The restored central Utah cabin will also receive a state-built parking lot for cars and tourist buses – an acknowledgement of the many that already stop at the site. The Utah Division of State Parks will provide informational signs for the location. The following report from KSL News gives more details about these plans:
In addition to the wildly-popular 1969 film dramatization, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, numerous documentaries have examined the life of the two outlaws. For a Westernsreboot.com review of one of the more recent ones, the PBS film Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (2014), visit the Westernsreboot.com post BC & SK on PBS.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)