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What Really Happened to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

After a few years of bankrobbing their way across the American West, Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Longabaugh headed to South America with their stolen money and Longabaugh's wife Ethel. Fifty years ago this month, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid told their story and became the biggest movie of 1969. The film ended with Butch and Sundance being shot by the Bolivian military in a hail of bullets, but skipped over the years they spent as wealthy and law-abiding cattlemen in Argentina.   

For six years they managed to elude the most powerful detectives on the planet and outrun their past across the wilds of South America. Hidden, for years, in the tranquil frontiers of Patagonia and the deep forests of the Andes, they started new lives as law-abiding citizens. They roped cattle, built ranches, and spent their ill-gotten gains on glorious living, including tango parties and cabin concerts where a governor—and even lawmen charged with arresting them—were honored guests.  

They tried to let go of the past. But they were hounded for a crime which we now know they did not commit, and the past caught up with them. Found out, the Old West’s smartest robbers responded by going on an epic spree of bank jobs that filled their saddlebags and humiliated law enforcement in three countries. Given the real story of what Butch and Sundance pulled off in South America, it’s no wonder the authorities tried to forget those years.

Read what happened to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid during their years in South America, and how their lives really ended, at The Daily Beast.  -via Metafilter


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There was an attempt to confirm the bodies of two bandits buried in Bolivia were Butch and Sundance. Forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow exhumed the bodies and DNA tests confirmed they were not. Lula Parker Betenson's book Butch Cassidy, My Brother clearly argues that he died in the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s.
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I know that often this is the history touted as the end of Butch Cassidy's life but there are quite a few competing narratives including Butches sister's account in her book Butch Cassidy: My Brother. While we do have letters from Cassidy from Argentina the weakest part of the story is the robberies in Bolivia and the death of Butch and Sundance as the two killed gringos were only anecdotally identified. I think there end will always be cloaked in mystery and controversy. So what really happened? We don't really know.
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