Wyoming’s 117 Year Old History Mystery
First, some background on the oldest of 13 children, Robert Parker saw his family lose their home to a Circleville, Utah neighbor because of their financial problems. Maybe that’s why Robert became a kind of Robin Hood, helping out many ranchers with their mortgages and helping himself and his gang to bank and payroll money.
Robert learned to ride, rope and shoot from ranch hand Mike Cassidy and would adopt that name and the name “Butch” from his stint as a Butcher in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Robert became Butch Cassidy and along with his “Wild Bunch,” a life of crime when he entered a closed shop and took a pair of jeans and a piece of pie but leaving an IOU.
In 1890, Butch bought a ranch in Dubois, Wyoming that was never successful, and 4 years later, he was arrested in Lander, Wyoming for horse theft and running a protection racket. He spent 18 months in the Wyoming State Prison in Laramie, Wyoming where he was described as a model prisoner. Not long after, he robbed a bank in Montpelier, Idaho for about $7,000 and then brought Harry Longebaugh, or “The Sundance Kid” into The Wild Bunch. Shortly after they helped themselves to a payroll in April of 1897. But it was what happened two years later that is the point of this story.
117 years ago . . . June 2, 1899, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid allegedly held up the Union Pacific Overland Flyer near Wilcox, Wyoming. When they were refused entrance into the train car with the money, they used too much dynamite and scorched some of the money and stained some of the notes with raspberries that were on board. They got away with about $30,000.
They continued a life of crime, even after sailing to Argentina, and managed to stay ahead of the law all the way to Chile. They eventually ended up working for a tin mine in Bolivia, as… payroll guards.
Rumors and legends merge and mix and history’s mysteries have some saying Butch and Sundance died in a Bolivian shootout, while others say Butch made it back to Nevada and Utah and died of old age.
This, is the stuff of legends.