Butch and Sundance: The Real Story
Want to know the truth about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Two of the more famous outlaws of the old west? This coming Monday in Nacogdoches, an amateur historian who knows a lot about those people and those times will share everything she knows in a presentation at the Nacogdoches Public Library.
For openers, the real Robert Leroy Parker (seated on far right) and Harry Longabaugh (seated on far left), aka Butch and Sundance, were NOT the dashing romantic figures who were portrayed in the classic 1970s movie that bears their names.
Parker and Longabaugh were hardened criminals — who preferred to steal their money at gunpoint rather than earn it with honest work. They robbed banks until they discovered it was easier to rob trains. When the railroads started hiring professional “regulators” to protect the trains, “the boys” took their ill gotten gain and left the country for South America. That’s where things went from bad to worst for them.
They hoped to buy land and start ranching, but that took real work. When they resumed their armed robberies in Bolivia, they were hunted down and killed by the Bolivian army. At least that’s what movie makers and historians say. A surprising number of people think they escaped that fate and returned to the states, where they lived out their lives and died of old age.
The problem with that theory should be obvious. It asks us to believe that two men who never worked an honest day in their lives, who would rather steal than work, who were always in trouble with the law and on the run, could reform themselves overnight, give up their larcenous ways, go “off the grid”, and live quietly and anonymously for decades as honest law abiding citizens. Not very likely.
Whatever, amateur historian Betty Crockford of Houston will tell the real story of Butch and Sundance, in the next Nacogdoches Speaker Series event on Monday May 7 at 6 pm. Be there.