Born in Utah to British immigrants who had arrived in Utah as Mormon pioneers, Robert Leroy Parker (1866 – 1908), AKA Butch Cassidy, left home as a teen to work on a dairy farm. He was mentored by a cattle rustler named Mike Cassidy, whose surname he adopted, and a subsequent job as a butcher earned him the nickname “Butch”.
At age 14, he entered a closed store and stole jeans and a pie, leaving behind an IOU. He was tried, but acquitted. By age 18, Cassidy was working with horse thieves, delivering stolen animals to buyers. With three associates, Cassidy robbed his first bank, in Telluride, Colorado, in 1889, then fled to a remote Utah hideout known as Robbers Roost.
The following year, he bought a ranch in Wyoming, near a notorious bandit hideout known as Hole in the Wall. In 1894, he was arrested and convicted of horse stealing and extortion. Sentenced to two years, he was released and pardoned after a year and a half by Wyoming’s governor. Within months, Cassidy formed the “Wild Bunch” gang and robbed an Idaho bank. Soon thereafter, he recruited Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, AKA The Sundance Kid.
In 1897, Cassidy robbed a coal company’s payroll of $7000. In June 1899, the Wild Bunch robbed a Union Pacific passenger train in Wyoming, which led to a massive manhunt, during which a Sheriff was killed in a shootout. A month later, Cassidy directed a train robbery in New Mexico, which entailed a shootout in which a Sheriff and another lawman were killed.
Cassidy tried to negotiate an amnesty plea with Wyoming’s governor that would have entailed the Union Pacific Railroad dropping criminal charges. He torpedoed his chances by robbing another Union Pacific in 1900, while the negotiations were ongoing and in breach of a promise he made the governor. Pressure mounted as posses tracked down and killed or arrested Wild Bunch members and associates, one by one. In May 1900, Wild Bunch members rode into Moab, Utah, and killed the Sheriff and a deputy as payback for the earlier killing of two gang members.
In September, 1900, Cassidy robbed a Nevada bank of $33,000, and in July, 1901, Wild Bunch members robbed a train in Montana, netting $60,000. Under mounting pressure, however, the gang broke up, and Cassidy and Longabaugh fled to New York City in 1901, and from there sailed to Argentina, where they purchased and settled in a 15,000-acre ranch.
In February, 1905, Cassidy and Longabaugh robbed a bank in southern Argentina. Tipped off that a warrant had been issued for their arrest, the duo sold their ranch in May, 1905, and fled to Chile. They returned to Argentina later that year and robbed a bank, then fled back to Chile. In 1906, they moved to Bolivia, and worked as guards for a mining company.
In November, 1908, Cassidy and Longabaugh robbed a mining company’s payroll in southern Bolivia, then fled to a small town where they lodged in a boarding house. They aroused the proprietor’s suspicions, and he notified a nearby Bolivian army unit. On the evening of November 6, 1908, the boarding house was surrounded. When soldiers approached, the duo opened fire, and in the ensuing firefight, were shot multiple times. Grievously wounded, Cassidy shot Longabaugh dead to put him out of his misery, before turning his pistol on himself.