Buenos Aires, Argentina
Butch and Sundance decided Argentina
was the place for a new start. Sundance
took Ethel to meet his family in Mont
Clare, Pennsylvania. They traveled
by train. He told his family of plans
for Argentina. He introduced Ethel
as his wife. Sundance and Ethel traveled
on to New York. Sundance visited Dr.
Pierce's Health Clinic in Buffalo,
New York. Some speculate they
had venereal disease. No records have
turned up to prove it.
Sundance and Ethel registered
at Mrs. Taylor's Boarding House in New York City on February 1, 1901. They registered
as Mr. and Mrs. Harry Place. Place was Sundance's mother's maiden name. Butch
Cassidy joined them in New York. He registered at the boarding house as James
Butch, Sundance and Ethel ("Etta")
Place left for Argentina by
steamship in February in 1901. Some
argue Butch came later. According
to Pinkerton files and Argentine documents,
Butch, Sundance and Etta arrived in
Buenos Aires by late March 1901.
A train robbery took place back in the United States
on July 3, 1901 in Wagner, Montana. The robbery was most likely led by Harvey
"Kid Curry" Logan. The outlaws made off with about $40,000 after dynamiting
the train safe. Butch's family received reports that he may have been at Wagner.
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Argentina was a place of opportunity.
Argentine gauchos were like cowboys
of the American West. The landscape
was similar. It was a well-known cattle
center. Argentine railroads put out
enticing stories on Argentina. Argentina
looked like the West. It was far away
from lawmen in the United States.
Butch registered for land in Buenos
Aires on April 2, 1902. Butch used
the alias James Ryan. Sundance was
Harry A. Place. The location of the
ranch was in southern Argentina, near
Cholila in the territory of Chubut.
Pinkerton National Detective Agency
files show Sundance and Ethel
sailing back to the United States.
According to Pinkerton files, Sundance
checked into a New York hospital.
They returned to Argentina in late
Butch wrote a letter to
Mathilda Davis on August 10, 1902. Mathilda Davis was the mother-in-law of his
good friend Elzy Lay. In the letter, he wrote of his 300 cattle, 1,500 sheep,
28 saddle horses and two men to do his work.
Pinkerton agent Frank DiMaio
was dispatched to South America. He was to locate the outlaws. He soon found out
about the Cholila Ranch. Wanted posters were circulated in Spanish. Argentine
authorities were warned of the American outlaws' presence. Sundance and Ethel
again traveled to the States in April 1904. They returned to Argentina late in
The bank of Rio Gallegos in southern Argentina was robbed by
reportedly North American bandits. The date was February 1905. Argentine police
suspected Butch and Sundance. Most Historians agree they were not at the Rio Gallegos
bank robbery. Knowledge they were once again wanted likely caused Butch, Sundance
and Ethel to give up their life in the Cholila Valley. Butch and Sundance sold
their Cholila Ranch. They left for Chile.
The old ranch house still stands
in the Cholila Valley, in the foothills of the Andes Mountains.
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By 1906, Butch and Sundance were
working at the Concordia Tin Mine.
It's in the Central Bolivian Andes
some seventy-five miles from La Paz.
Much of what is known about Butch
and Sundance at this time came from
Percy Seibert. Seibert was a north
American mining engineer. He worked
at Concordia. Butch and Sundance used
the aliases James "Santiago"
Maxwell and Harry "Enrique"
Brown. According to Seibert, the outlaws
eventually befriended him. They revealed
their true identities. Butch and Sundance
took a trip to Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
They were possibly looking for another
ranch. Butch wrote a letter to "The
Boys at Concordia" on November
Historians believe Butch and Sundance went to the mining town of
Tupiza in Southern Bolivia. The journey to Tupiza begins in heavily populated
La Paz. The altitude is more than 12,000 feet. It's a seventeen-hour jeep ride
from La Paz.
The date was November 4, 1908. The payroll of the Aramayo
Mining Company of Tupiza was held up by two reportedly North American bandits.
The payroll was transported by an employee of the company named Carlos Pero. His
young son and a servant were with him. Pero was walking, the others rode mules.
The story is based upon his written testimony as uncovered by historians Daniel
Buck and Anne Meadows.
Pero picked up the payroll at the Aramayo mansion,
which sits on the bank of the Tupiza River. He was to deliver it to Aramayo's
headquarters at Quechisla. It was a three-day journey. They overnighted at the
Aramayo Hacienda at Salo. Today, the Hacienda has been converted to a school.
Only a small part of the older structure still exists.
Carlos Pero and his
companions reached a remote area called Huaca Huanusca or "Dead Cow Hill."
They were confronted by two armed robbers. Letters to Aramayo Mine officials have
been found by Daniel Buck and Anne Meadows. In these letters, Carlos Pero described
how the robbers held them at gunpoint, took the payroll and a mule, then released
Pero, his son, and servant.
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The small village of San Vicente lies
at the foot of the Bolivian Andes.
The altitude is about 14,500 feet.
Today, San Vicente is a jarring five-hour
jeep ride from Tupiza. The road twists
and turns around hairpin curves with
The date was November 6, 1908. Two
men rode into the village of San Vicente,
Bolivia. The two men rode mules. Mules
were used in high altitudes instead
of horses because they more easily
acclimate to thin air. One of the
mules was the Aramayo mule
stolen in the robbery.
The two men stopped for the night. Word of the Aramayo
robbery spread quickly. A company of three soldiers and one policeman arrived
in San Vicente earlier in the day. The two men asked the local mayor for food
and lodging. The mayor directed one of the villagers to supply a room for them.
The mayor described the two men ordering a supper of sardines and beer.
entered the house. One soldier was immediately shot and killed by the two men.
Eyewitness Remigio Sanchez was a local miner who testified on the shootout: "The
captain entered with a soldier, and then all of us entered and found the smaller
gringo stretched out on the floor, dead, with one bullet wound in the temple and
another in the arm. The taller one was hugging a large ceramic jug that was in
the room. He was dead also with a bullet wound in the forehead and several in
The Aramayo payroll was found among the dead bandits' belongings.
They were well-armed. The two men were buried in the San Vicente Cemetery. Carlos
Pero was asked to identify the robbers. The bodies were exhumed shortly after
burial. Pero identified the dead outlaws as the ones who had robbed him. The names
of the bandits could not be confirmed.
A team led by forensic anthropologist
Clyde Snow attempted to exhume the bodies of the dead outlaws in 1991. The grave
site was identified by local legend to be that of the outlaws. It actually held
the body of a German miner.
Historians Daniel Buck and Anne Meadows
still believe Butch and Sundance are
buried somewhere in the San Vicente
of Butch's family dispute the San Vicente account. Butch's sister Lula wrote of
Butch coming back to visit the family in 1925, seventeen years after the shootout.
Lula wrote of a black Ford pulling up to the Circleville Homestead. In it was
Leroy Parker. Other Parker family members had differing opinions and versions
of what happened to Butch.
Josie Bassett and several others also told of
seeing Butch Cassidy in later years. Josie said Butch and Elzy Lay visited her
on two occasions after the South America shootout. Complicating the story were
imposters roaming the West who claimed to be Butch Cassidy. Some who told truthful
stories of seeing Butch may have been fooled.