You know what this website has been lacking? Wild Westiness. I’m here to correct that mistake. I couldn’t think of a more fitting, more prolific wild west outlaw to start with than Butch Cassidy. Read on then tell me I’m wrong.
Meet Butch Cassidy, aka George Parker, Lowe Maxwell, James Ryan…
Butch was born Robert Leroy Parker on April 13, 1866. He left home in his early teens and found himself working at a dairy farm with a cowboy calling himself Mike Cassidy. He got the nickname Butch working as a butcher a couple years on and decided to couple it with the supposed surname of his old cowboy mentor. Thus Butch Cassidy was born.
Cassidy robbed his first bank in 1889 with two other men. They successfully stole $21,000 from the San Miguel Valley Bank. A year later, Cassidy purchased a ranch which many believe may have been a front for clandestine activities and providing protection for fellow outlaws.
Sure enough, the rancher-cum-outlaw found himself arrested in 1894 for stealing horses, though some believed it was also for possibly aiding and abetting known criminals. He was released in 1896, promising the governor he would remain on the straight and narrow. He proved this by getting himself associated with a fresh group of criminals almost immediately.
Together they formed a band of outlaws christened “The Wild Bunch” and set to work. The outlaws robbed a bank in Idaho of $7,000. They struck again the following year, this time robbing a coal company of their payroll, also totaling $7,000. 1889 saw them rob a Union Pacific overland flyer in Wyoming. Things finally went sour later that year.
He was involved in a train robbery that went bad in Folsom, New Mexico. Elzy Lay, Cassidy’s best friend, shot and killed sheriff Edward Farr and a man named Henry Love. Lay was caught and eventually imprisoned for life in the New Mexico state penitentiary. Cassidy and his compatriots were very much wanted men.
Despite their predicament, Cassidy and the wild bunch went on to rob the First National Bank of Winnemucca, Nevada of over $32,000 in the year 1900. Less than a year later in 1901, a smaller group robbed a Great Northern train in Montana of $60,000 in cash. The law came down hard, with one gang member arrested and two more killed as a result of the pursuit. Cassidy fled with “The Sundance Kid” Harry Longabaugh to Argentina, where they bought a 15,000 acre ranch.
Not content with the considerable wealth they had, the two men struck again in 1905. This time a bank near the Strait of Magellan was the target, being robbed of approximately $4,500. They struck again later that year at a bank near Buenos Aires, making off with 12,000 pesos.
Cassidy’s luck supposedly came to an end in 1908 after robbing a courier carrying the payroll for the Cia Silver Mine, totaling 15,000 Bolivian pesos. A miner at a nearby boarding house became suspicious of the men, who had taken the courier’s mule, and contacted a local cavalry unit. Long story short: The two ended their lives after a sustained shootout. One man shot the other before shooting himself.
That makes at least nine robberies for Butch Cassidy, Robber Extraordinaire.