Butch Cassidy Master Train Robber?


Butch Cassidy’s folk hero image actually exceeded his outlawry.  In 1898, a Chicago newspaper referred to him as the “King of the Bandits,” and the “worst man” in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho.  The article also claimed he was the leader of a gang of 500 outlaws, “subdivided into five bands.”

It’s not certain how many train robberies Butch actually participated in but he wasn’t the notorious train robber of lore.  He was recognized at the Tipton robbery, but his name was added to the list of train robbers at Wilcox after he became famous.  The Pinkertons believed Butch and Sundance were heading to Winnemucca, Nevada.

According to historians Dan Buck and Anne Meadows, seven train robberies were committed by various members of the gang; Malta in 1892; Wilcox and Folsom in 1899; Tipton in 1900; Wagner in 1901; Parachute in 1904; and Sanderson in 1912.  Butch was not implicated in the Malta, Folsom, or Sanderson robberies.  He was in Argentina at the time of the Parachute heist and dead when the train was robbed at Sanderson.  So it looks like he participated in only one train robbery,but was Butch involved in the Wagner, MT, train robbery with Kid Curry in 1902 ?

Butch Cassidy summary: He was baptized Robert Leroy Parker and was born in Beaver, Utah. He was the oldest of thirteen children in a family of Mormons. Both his parents were immigrants from England. They met and married in the United States.

For a while, Robert worked as a butcher in Wyoming. There he acquired the nickname “Butch” which seemed to stay with him. He wanted to carve out a better life for himself, so he left home as a teenager. Working on farms and ranches, he met rancher Mike Cassidy who did not have a stellar reputation. Butch took a liking to Cassidy and in time, added Cassidy’s last name to his nickname and, thus, he became Butch Cassidy.

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