KUED RIDES THE OUTLAW
Film Documentary Presents New Information in Butch Cassidy Story
What really happened to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?
KUED producer John Howe journeys from Utah and Wyoming to Argentina and Bolivia
to uncover the real story of the West's most famous outlaw.
AND THE OUTLAW TRAIL, premiering on KUED-Channel 7 Wednesday, June 18 at 9
p.m., reveals important new information about the life of Butch and Sundance
on their Argentina ranch and in South America. The documentary film sheds new
light on one of the greatest mysteries of the American West made famous in the
Paul Newman-Robert Redford movie, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
Narrated by motion picture actor Hal Holbrook, this one-hour documentary film
follows the outlaw's life from his youth in Circleville, Utah to the shootout
in a remote Bolivian village that still has some wondering: Did he die in South
America, or did he return to the United States?
The film draws on the
expertise of the nation's foremost scholars and writers, as well as relatives
of these historical figures.
BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE OUTLAW TRAIL captures
the sprawling, breathtaking landscape of the region and outlaw hideouts including
Brown's Park, Robbers Roost, and Hole in the Wall. KUED rides the Outlaw Trail
through Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota, and New Mexico to bring
viewers to key locations.
"Hopefully, this film advances the story
significantly beyond anything that has been previously produced," says John
Howe, producer of BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE OUTLAW TRAIL. "The film features
locations, letters, and some of the rarest photographs of the outlaws in the world
that have seldom, if ever, been seen on television."
was born to a Utah Mormon family in 1866. According to his sister, Lula, he grew
up in a happy home with loving parents lined by poplar trees in Circleville, Utah.
His nickname "Butch" probably came from working as a butcher
in Rock Springs, Wyoming years later. His first major robbery was a Telluride,
Colorado bank heist in 1889.
Butch had the reputation of never hurting
anyone. He would sometimes "go straight" after robberies. Some speculate
he could have been "lying low" to plan his next robbery. Loyal to fellow
outlaws, he appears to have been a likeable man and accomplished cowboy.
"The way he handled those poor cattle over that long and dusty trail
of 200 miles was a revelation," wrote rancher William French. French hired
Butch under an assumed name in Alma, New Mexico. "He never dropped a hoof,
and there was no tail to his herd when he arrived at the road."
Although legend assumes that Butch rode with what came to be called "The
Wild Bunch," no one knows for sure who was likely at each of those robberies.
The adventures of "The Wild Bunch" would become some of the most famous
in American history. The gang developed a trademark escape pattern by switching
to fresh relay horses in Pony Express fashion to make their getaways. Their train
robberies became dramatic and dangerous with the use of dynamite.
posed with Sundance and three other outlaws for the famous "Fort Worth Five"
photograph during a visit to the Texas red light district called Hell's Half Acre.
The mysterious and elusive Etta Place, whose real name is likely Ethel, entered
the outlaws' lives at about this time. Although little is known about her, she
became the Sundance Kid's love interest.
As lawmen heated up their pursuit
of the gang, Butch, Sundance and Etta escaped to South America where they operated
a ranch that still stands in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. After Butch
and Sundance were wrongfully accused of robbing an Argentine bank, they left their
Argentina ranch for Chile and then Bolivia. Etta Place disappeared without a trace
into history. "The Butch Cassidy story ends in mystery, but what happened
to Etta Place is as great a mystery," says Howe. "No one knows for certain
what happened to her."
A payroll robbery in Bolivia led to a series
of events that may have precipitated a deadly shootout. The outcome of that shootout
has been disputed by some historians, writers, and family descendants. Did Butch
and Sundance die in a wind-swept village high in the Bolivian Andes? Or, did Butch
survive and return to the United States?
"The tale of Butch Cassidy
remains one of the greatest mysteries of the American West," says Howe. "It's
a story that refuses to die."