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Separating mythology from actual events in the life of Butch Cassidy has been made extremely difficult by the many stories told about him by family members, acquaintances, and writers after his presumed death in a Bolivian village. In an exhaustive search of reminiscences, newspapers, and books, Richard Patterson has written the definitive biography of the outlaw whose legend is rivaled only by that of Billy the Kid. Born to a devout Mormon family in Utah, Robert Leroy Parker demonstrated early on the acquisitiveness and restlessness that would lead him into a criminal life. As a teenager, he was arrested for stealing a saddle. In this same period, he met Mike Cassidy, a cowhand skilled in using a running iron to change livestock brands. Eventually Parker drifted into Telluride, where he met Tom McCarty and Matt Warner. McCarty taught them how to rob banks and trains, laying out for Parker a career path that would lead him to a new name-Butch Cassidy -and eventually force him from the country. Patterson has followed every lead to provide a vivid account of Cassidy's life and has scrutinized the stories of men who claimed to be Butch. Butch Cassidy brings together diverse anecdotes, providing both a wonderful tool for researchers and a lively read.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780803287563
ISBN-10: 0803287569
Format: Paperback
(5817mm x 3887mm x 21mm)
Pages: 372
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publish Date: 1-Jun-1998
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » A thorough search to set the record straight about questions surrounding the fate of a legendary outlaw. Patterso, a retired lawyer turned freelance writer and editor, seems to have followed nearly every trail, well or little known, ever left by Cassidy, the personable, restless drifter, skillful cowboy, and elusive prey of all those unrelenting posses and Pinkerton, railroad, and bank detectives - as well as the US Cavalry - who dogged him across the vast Old West spaces of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and, later, South America. Patterson defines Robert Leroy Parker (Cassidy's real name), born Mormon in Utah, as a puzzling good/bad guy, a hard-working ranch hand who was always loyal to his employer of the moment, kind to children, and yet also a bold cattle rustler, horse thief, and robber of banks and trains who cleverly planned successful escape routes with his associates from the famous Wild Bunch gang. In time, the West was no longer a safe place for even him to hide: Communications improved, and multiple pursuers closed in. Some Wild Bunch members eventually found themselves caught, imprisoned, or hanged. Cassidy and Harry Longabaugh (the so-called Sundance Kid) then fled to South America, where they died in a payroll robbery - or did they? Patterson's search for the facts was complicated by conflicting and confusing reports that compel speculation to this day. Persuasive accounts of later Cassidy sightings and meetings, for example, can only further complicate matters. A colorful, not yet resolved mystery. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Richard Patterson

Richard Patterson is a retired lawyer now working as a freelance writer and editor. His many publications include Historical Atlas of the Outlaw West.

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