Did Butch Cassidy Survive Bolivia and Die of Old Age? Historian Says No
Did Butch Cassidy, the notorious Old West outlaw who most historians believe died in a 1908 shootout in Bolivia, actually survive that battle and live to old age, peacefully and anonymously, in Washington state?
And did he write an autobiography about his exploits under another name?
A rare books collector says he has obtained a manuscript with new evidence that may give credence to that theory. The 200-page manuscript, "Bandit Invincible: The Story of Butch Cassidy," which dates to 1934, is twice as long as a previously known but unpublished novella of the same title by William T. Phillips, who died in Spokane in 1937.
Utah book collector Brent Ashworth and Montana author Larry Pointer say the text contains the best evidence yet — with details only Cassidy could have known — that "Bandit Invincible" was not a biography -- but an autobiography, and that Phillips himself was the legendary outlaw.
Others aren't convinced.
"Total horse pucky," said Cassidy historian Dan Buck. "It doesn't bear a great deal of relationship to Butch Cassidy's real life, or Butch Cassidy's life as we know it."
Most historians say there is no credible evidence to back up claims that Cassidy and his partner the Sundance Kid were not killed in Bolivia.
Still, there is no shortage of stories told by family members, even several generations later, that Cassidy did survive and managed to live anonymously and die of old age in 1937.
Those people would have you believe that a career criminal who couldn't go 24 hours without breaking the law, could somehow vanish and live for decades without ever committing another criminal act or doing anything that would attract the attention of the law.