He took part in an aborted train robbery in 1887 but robbed banks in Denver and Telluride.At first, he used the alias of George Cassidy but after working at a butcher shop in Rock Springs, Wyoming, he became known as Butch Cassidy which stayed with him for the rest of his life.Butch switched from honest labor (mine employee, butcher, cowboy) to outlaw activities, and became part of an outlaw stronghold of brown’s Hole, a rugged mountain camp at the Green River, bordering Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.
It was there that he met Harry Longabaugh – better known as “The Sundance Kid” – and other members of the camp who eventually formed ‘ The Wild Bunch” gang.Butch was sentenced to two years in the Wyoming State Prison in 1892 for cattle rustling. After his release, he went back to Brown’s Hole, collected some men and began a five year run of robbing banks and trains. They hid out in places like “Hole-in-the-Wall” and “Robber’s Roost”, deep canyons of northern Wyoming and southeastern Utah.
On at least one occasion, his gang used too much dynamite and blew a train’s baggage car to bits.In September 1901, Butch and two others robbed the First National Bank in Winnemucca, Nevada making off with $32,000. They sought refuge in Forth Worth, Texas and while there, Butch, and Sundance, along with some other gang members posed in fancy suits and derby hats and had their picture taken. Brazenly, Butch sent the picture to the Winnemnucca bank, thanking its owners for the fine duds. Pinkerton Detectives used the photo to close in on the gang.In late 1901, Butch, Sundance and Sundance’s mistress, Etta Place, sailed to South America, where it is believed they operated a ranch in Argentina before resorting to bank and train robbery. They ended up in Bolivia in 1908 and legend has it that the men were killed by Bolivian soldiers in either 1909 or 1911 after robbing a mine payroll.
Other versions maintain that both men returned to the United States and lived out their lives separately: Butch was said to have visited his family in Utah in 1925; another version claims he served as a mercenary in the Mexican revolution and later lived in Spokane, Washington under the name of William T. Phillips where he operated a business and died in 1937. Sundance, according to one version, married Etta and lived for years in Mexico and New Mexico and then died in 1957 at the age of 96. The film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” depicted their deaths in Bolivia.
Robert Leroy Parker’s Aliases:
George Parker (Butch’s real name, according to the Pinkertons’ wanted posters)
James “Santiago” Maxwell
Harry Longabaugh’s aliases:
The Sundance Kid
Harry A. Place (his mother’s maiden name was Annie Place)