Butch Cassidy, An Outlaw Who Once Called Rock Springs Home

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Butcher Shop where Butch Cassidy worked. Photo Credit: Sweetwater County Historical Museum

When you think of all the history that in here in Sweetwater County, one person sticks out in everyones mind. Butch Cassidy.

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Born in 1866, Robert LeRoy Parker was the first born son of Mormon emigrants in Beaver, Utah. At a young age he learned the art of cattle rustling and stealing horses from Mike Cassidy, the man his family hired to help around the property. Young Robert left home at the age of 13 and adopted the name of George Cassidy.

George Cassidy Robbed his first bank in 1889 in Colorado. After a few years of robbery and thefts. After a two year stay in the Wyoming State Penitentiary, George moved to Rock Springs in the early 1890’s.

Fountain Club Interior.. Photo Credit: Sweetwater County Historical Museum

Cassidy got a job working for the William “Walt” Gottsche Butcher Shop located at 432 Front Street. Which is where he earned the name “Butch Cassidy”.

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Butch formed his gang, the “Wild Bunch” in 1896 while still having living in Sweetwater County. The gang began a series of daring bank and train robberies, including one in Tipton, Wyoming (Located approximately 50 miles east of Rock Springs). The gang used the outlaw trail to get away.

The Fountain Club on South Main Street in Rock Springs was said to have been one of Butch Cassidy’s favorite haunts.
Photo Credit: Sweetwater County Historical Museum
Eventually, Butch and a member of his gang, the Sundance Kid, along with  their friend Etta Place decided that it was only a matter of time before the Pinkerton detective agency caught up with them. The three went to South America and bought a cattle ranch in Cholila, Argentina. They eventually returning to a life of armed robbery.
The story goes that Bolivian soldiers killed Butch and Sundance in 1908. However, many local people were convinced that the outlaws survived Bolivia, took new names, and returned many times to Wyoming and Utah to visit family, friends, and look for loot stashed years before.
One of these people was Butch’s sister and Rock Springs resident, Lula Parker Betensen, who attested to this in her book, Butch Cassidy, My Brother.