Gunslinger Biography Butch Cassidy

About the famous gunslinger Butch Cassidy, history and biography, description and crimes.


Name: BUTCH CASSIDY, born George LeRoy Parker on Friday, Apr. 13, 1866, in Beaver, U. He adopted the alias Cassidy, one of many he used, to honor Mike Cassidy, his original tutor in the arts of rustling and horse thievery. He used George as a first name until nicknamed Butch, from temporary legitimate work as a cattle butcher. There is considerable controversy over the circumstances of Cassidy's death. Some say he died in San Vicente, Bolivia, early in 1909 (exact date uncertain). Others swear he lived until 1937 and died at an undisclosed location in the American Northwest.

Description: Medium build, 5 ft. 9 in., 165 lb. Light complexion, blue eyes, flaxen hair, occasional sandy mustache, wide-jawed. His working clothes were a typical cowboy's, but in cities he dressed in contemporary business suits, often sporting a rakishly tilted derby. Friendly and affable.

Resume: Cassidy began his career as a cattle rustler in Utah, then became a mule skinner in Telluride, Colo. Next he joined a gang and participated in his first train and bank robberies. According to Butch's sister, Lula Parker Betenson, Butch had a code when it came to robbery. Butch and his friends, she says, "never robbed common people. They hated what they called the injustice of bankers and cattle barons who, they said, took from the little man and amassed wealth." However, though many of Cassidy's robberies had a Robin Hood quality about them, his code was often laid aside when he needed money.

In 1894, captured and convicted for the only time in his career, for horse theft, Cassidy talked his jailers into allowing him a night on the town before beginning his two-year term in the Wyoming State Penitentiary. He got what he wanted and returned as promised the next day. He was released after serving a year and a half of his sentence and promising the governor of Wyoming that he'd let livestock and banks alone in that state. He later robbed trains there (trains weren't covered under his agreement) and in neighboring states, often dynamiting open the locked express cars.

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