An Interview with John
Q: After the premiere of the 1969
film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
Kid," many different versions
of the Butch story began to circulate.
How is your documentary different?
A: Our goals for Butch Cassidy
and The Outlaw Trail are to make one of the most definitive film histories of
the outlaws and advance the knowledge of the story beyond what has been previously
produced. Our narrator, motion picture actor Hal Holbrook, is a great storyteller.
We hope this journey of discovery will be an educational adventure for the audience,
as it was for the filmmaking team. It's one of the most dramatic stories and greatest
mysteries of the American West. The locations are breathtakingly beautiful. There
are a lot of questions to be asked. We hope the film illuminates some of them.
Butch Cassidy and "The Wild Bunch" were relatively successful at evading
authorities. Considering the high volume of bank and train robberies attributed
to Butch and his fellow outlaws, how did they consistently stay one step ahead
of the authorities?
A: The escapes appear to be methodical and well
thought out. The outlaws developed a strategy of placing relay horses in a Pony
Express manner that allowed them to switch to fresh mounts as lawmen were closing
in. Even so, the fate of many of the outlaws was a violent end. They were killed
or captured by lawmen.
Q: What is so mysterious about Etta Place, and
at what point did she enter the outlaws' lives?
A: Very little is
known to this day about Etta Place, whose last name was the Sundance Kid's mother's
maiden name. Historians believe she entered the lives of Butch and Sundance probably
in Texas. They speculate she may have been a teacher or prostitute. Sundance introduced
her to his family as his wife. She joined Butch and Sundance in Argentina and
then disappeared into history.
Q: What was your most interesting
or difficult day of shooting for Butch Cassidy and the Outlaw Trail?
The entire location filming process was extremely arduous and physically demanding.
The locations are very remote and difficult to reach. The story eventually leads
to South America. The most interesting and also most difficult day was in the
small village of San Vicente, Bolivia. Some historians think Butch and Sundance
are buried in the cemetery in San Vicente in unmarked graves. It took the filmmakers
about two days by jeep to reach the village at the foot of the Bolivian Andes.
The altitude is about 14,500 feet. Any physical activity was difficult and we
had to climb to high altitudes for overviews. Yet, the ambience of the village
was steeped in mystery. Another very memorable day was the filming of Butch and
Sundance's ranch in Argentina. It gave me the feeling of walking in the famous
Q: Of all the possible hideouts, why did Butch and
Sundance choose to relocate to Argentina?
A: The best reason may have
been that it was simply very far away from lawmen in the United States. Argentina
may have also reminded them of the American West. It was a well-known cattle and
ranching area. The location of the ranch is very remote but exquisitely beautiful.
What will viewers take away from this film?
A: I hope the film will
be an entertaining yet educational experience for viewers. Butch Cassidy is famous,
yet so much of the history and locations have rarely been glimpsed by the public.
What actually happened to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of the greatest
mysteries of the American West. The film presents information that is not widely
known, which, I hope, is representative of the best historical thinking of the