Gunslinger Biography Butch Cassidy Part 2

About the famous gunslinger Butch Cassidy, history and biography, famous fights, favorite weapons, and how he died.



His gang, the Wild Bunch, flourished for a time, but then the law, in the form of dogged Pinkerton detectives, began to close in. In 1901 Butch and his close friend the Sundance Kid (Harry Longabaugh), together with Etta Place, the Kid's paramour, decided to start over in South America, as legitimate ranchers.

In 1906 the three turned to crime again. Later, the Kid and Butch took Etta back to the U.S. for medical treatment and returned alone after abandoning her in Denver. Butch and the Kid then worked off and on as a robbery duo in Bolivia until their alleged deaths in 1909.

Favorite Weapon: Colt .45 six-shooter.

Speed on the Draw: Cassidy was a quick and accurate shooter. He could fast-draw and hit a playing card nailed to a distant tree or bottles tossed into the air.

Victims: Until late in his life, Cassidy killed no one. He personally preferred intimidation to violence. As leader of the Wild Bunch, though, Butch was indirectly involved in some deaths which occurred in carrying out his plans.

Leading Fight: The only gunfight Butch is known to have entered is the one in which he supposedly died.

Earnings: Cassidy and his gang took in known hauls of over $200,000. There were also certain other robberies in South America that could have been his work, and he made money from cattle rustling and as a straight ranch hand in slack periods.

How Died: Most sources say Cassidy and the Sundance Kid died in a shoot-out with Bolivian cavalry sometime early in 1909. In this battle Cassidy supposedly killed his first man, the captain of the soldiers. One version has it that Cassidy used his last two bullets to keep himself and the wounded Sundance Kid from being taken alive. Another has the Kid dead from the soldiers' fire when Butch used his last bullet on himself. A third version gives all the credit to the cavalry.

These stories are contradicted by Butch's sister, now in her 90s. In a 1976 book, Butch Cassidy, My Brother, she tells how Butch came home to Utah to visit his father and family in 1925, years after his alleged death in South America. During that visit, she says, Butch told her that the two men killed in South America were intentionally misidentified by a friend of Butch's to give Butch an opportunity to bury his past and go straight. He died, she says, of pneumonia in the fall of 1937, and his burial place remains a family secret.

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