Historians Can’t Agree On The Mysterious Circumstances Of Butch Cassidy’s Final Days

Paul Newman and Robert Redford charmed a generation of movie-goers as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, respectively. But the real-life outlaws were completely different from the characters that they inspired. In fact, much about them remains a mystery even today — including how they really spent their final days.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Of course, everyone knows the ending of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid — or at least the movie version. Having fled the Wild West and settled in South America, the pair continued their run of lawbreaking, holding up local banks to fund their life in exile. But eventually, their luck ran out.

Bittersweet ending

In the movie, law enforcement officers finally catch up to Cassidy and the Kid, otherwise known as Harry Longabaugh, in a small town in Bolivia. And in the resulting hail of bullets, both outlaws are killed. It’s a bittersweet ending to a tale that has captivated audiences for more than a hundred years. But how close is it to the truth?

Robert LeRoy Parker

Although Cassidy’s later life and death are shrouded in mystery, enough has been written about the outlaw to build up a clear picture of his early years. Born Robert LeRoy Parker in 1866 in Utah Territory, he was the son of Mormons who had emigrated from England in the 1850s. Before long, though, he would stray far from these religious roots.

Mike Cassidy

At the family ranch near Circleville, Utah, the young Parker learned how to wrangle cattle. And when he was a teenager, he met a fellow cowboy and outlaw named Mike Cassidy. Inspired by his new friend — and bored with life in small-town America — he left home when he was still just a teenager.