Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, last escape from Patagonia

Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, last escape from Patagonia

Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, famous bank robbers, outlaws wanted throughout the United States for years found shelter in Argentina.

Butch Cassidy
																															

Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, famous bank robbers, outlaws wanted throughout the United States for years found shelter in Argentina. A piece of information not widely known as the cowboy film by George Roy Hill that retold the story, starred by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, did not even mention the chapter of the escape.

Robert LeRoy Parker was born in 1866 in a ranch located in Utah. In his years as a teenager he worked in farms but his true ambitions had nothing to do with milky cows or butchery. At the beginning of 1890, he made himself be called Butch Cassidy, and his suspicious friends created an organization of outlaws that soon became famous: “Wild Bunch”.

Wanted bill of Cassidy and the Kid
																  															  

They were specialists in: armed attacks to banks and train pillage. Sheriffs from all the counties were after them, after the shootings there were casualties, some outlaws were arrested but the gang got apart after each robbery and that is how they remained solid.

Union Pacific Railway Company was fed up with their convoys being attacked and asked Pinkkerton detective agency to go after them. “Wild Bunch” was the prey. A 10,000-dollar reward was offered for the head of Butch Cassidy, a very precious amount for those times. For the authorities, he was a criminal that had his hands full of blood. For his followers and, according to the legend, he was like Robin Hood that gave back part of his haul to an anarchist cause.

1st row left Sundance Kid, 1st row right Butch Cassidy - 1900
																															

Cassidy fled to New York with Alonzo Longabaugh, nicknamed Sundance Kid, and his friend, Etta Place. From there, in 1901 they took a ship to Buenos Aires, a long exile to a port that every day received thousands immigrants. When they got to the Argentine capital city, they headed for Patagonia and built a ranch in Cholila, province of Chubut, not very far from Esquel and Los Alerces National Park. Cholila, that in mapuche means “beautiful valley”, is just a village with some breeders dispersed around this marvelous Andean region. A new far west.

Film adaptation with Paul Newman and Robert Redford
																  															  

In 1905, two men speaking in English robbed a bank in Río Gallegos. Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid? Who knows?… Anyway, the police looked for Cholila farmers that had disappeared in Patagonia and reappeared in Bariloche, robbed a bank in the province of Buenos Aires, and even got to Chile when sheriffs and detectives were too near.

In 1906, Etta Place decided to go back to the United States. The two men went to Bolivia and found a job with other identities. The circumstances of the death of Butch Cassidy and Kid were controversial. They died in a shooting in 1908 in San Vicente, Bolivia, but the outcome of the DNA analysis carried out in the 1990s did not show any relationship with their relatives. According to Parker’s sister, he went back to his country where he lived many years until he died old.

Boliche viejo, Bariloche
																															

In Cholila, the trunks of the house have outlived the passage of time. There is a project to restore the place and open it for tourists. Robert Redford is said to participate in financing the project. Even Northern up, in El Bolsón, fake sheriff Martin Sheffields is buried, he was a reward-hunter hired by Pinkerton agency to follow the outlaws up to Argentina.

His star is displayed in Bariloche Museum. In the “Beautiful Valley” of Chubut there are still rumors of the legend about: the extraordinary beauty of Etta Place, who the governor invited to dance zamba, some people saw her having a bath naked in the river, or the poker games by Cassidy and Kid in a saloon near Bariloche: Boliche Viejo; or the deals between Sheffields and the gang; allegedly bank robberies…