On April 13, 1866 the Old West’s least likely looking and acting head of a bandit gang was born in Utah.  His name was Robert Leroy Parker.Butch Cassidy

Bob Parker spent his childhood near Circleville, Utah, a hangout for outlaws.  As a young person Bob Parker befriended an outlaw by the name of Mike Cassidy.  Mike Cassidy taught Bob how to shoot.  He also took Bob with him on some of his cattle rustling ventures.

Bob Parker, along with Mike Cassidy, stole a few horses, robbed a bank or two and created general havoc in a small way. Bob also had some legitimate jobs.  He worked for a short while as a butcher in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
As Robert Leroy Parker started getting into trouble he assumed an alias, in part to make him sound meaner, and to save his family embarrassment.  His last name came from his early friend, Mike Cassidy.  His picked up his first name while a butcher in Rock Springs.

Butch Cassidy, and his partner the Sundance Kid, also an alias – the result of his spending time in a jail in Sundance, Wyoming – were lost in history until a movie starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford was released.

Although the real Butch Cassidy didn’t look anything like Paul Newman, he had the same “happy-go-lucky” attitude that Paul Newman portrayed.  Although he was 5’9” tall, and was known for clowning around, he had the ability to rule a gang of bad desperados known as “the wild bunch.”

The biggest controversy concerning Butch Cassidy was portrayed at the end of the Newman – Redford movie.  Although tradition says that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid died in Bolivia, Robert Leroy Parker’s family maintains he returned to the United States, purchased a ranch, and searched for the loot he and the wild bunch had stashed until he died in 1937.

Filed under: Old West History

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