Dec 15, 2014


| |

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Patagonia



Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Patagonia

Butch Cassidy Wanted Poster

The history of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a history rooted in being the last legitimate Wild West outlaws of the Americas, robbing trains, banks, stagecoaches, cattle companies, and ranches throughout North and South America.

Before escaping the famed Pinkerton Detectives by taking false names in New York City and boarding the British steamer Herminius, bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina with the Sundance Kid’s girlfriend, Etta Place, a schoolteacher, in-tow, Butch and the Sundance Kid (whose real names are Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Longabaugh) spent almost six years as members of the “The Wild Bunch” gang (Butch was the leader). “The Wild Bunch” gang was responsible for at least sixteen documented robberies throughout the American West, from Mexico to Montana, creating the now famous “Butch Cassidy’s Outlaw Trail”.

Butch Cassidy Outlaw Trail

Butch Cassidy’s Outlaw Trail

In Argentina, this odd couple of American outlaws purchased a 15,000 acre Patagonia estancia (ranch) on the east bank of the Rio Blanco near Cholila, Chubut province, nestled beneath the majestic and behemoth Andes Mountains. Along Patagonia’s Ruta 40, en route to El Calafaté to El Chaltén, which remains the most rural and beautifully breath-taking terrain on earth, our outlaws created a new home and led a peaceful existence. Why these outlaws chose Patagonia in the beginning of the 20th century as their refuge and escape from justice is a mystery. Many argue that it was birthed from their need to distance themselves from the relentless Pinkerton Detectives wed to their insatiable appetites for adventure. Either way, Butch, the Sundance Kid, and Etta Place lived as rancheros on their large and secluded estancia for five quiet years until Etta Place quit this life with these two former “Wild Bunch” gang members, and returned to the U.S..

Soon after Place abandoned Butch and the Sundance Kid, they abandoned their estancia beneath El Chaltén and El Calafaté and resumed their outlaw lifestyle (it seems the U.S. government had determined their whereabouts at this time). They trekked through the wide and marvelous terrain of Patagonia, from the Strait of Magellan, to a famous ford in the La Leona River (which is now Estancia La Leona), to the Pampas, over the Andes, and in and out of Chilé. The two used rural parts of Chilé as a new home base to escape capture, much like they’d done in the U.S. when they’d use rural parts of Utah for the same reason.

They trekked through the wide and marvelous terrain of Patagonia, from the Strait of Magellan, to a famous ford in the La Leona River (which is now Estancia La Leona), to the Pampas, over the Andes, and in and out of Chilé.

The demise of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in the village of San Vicenté, Bolivia by a military garrison is subject to much debate. What is known is that two American men robbed a caravan of mules carrying 15,000 pesos-worth of silver from the Aramayo Franke and Cia Silver Mine on November 3, 1908. After a local spotted the Aramayo Mine logo on one of the men’s mules, he told authorities. This resulted in an all-night stand-off with Bolivian soldiers and the two American bandits.

Eventually, the two Americans shot each other after sustaining multiple bullet wounds from the Bolivian soldiers. These two Americans were unidentified and buried in unmarked graves that have gone undiscovered to this day. What is known is that after their deaths, there were no longer any robberies across South America by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. However, many family, friends, and theorists claim that the Aramayo Mine incident gave Butch and the Sundance Kid the opportunity they needed to leave their outlaw life behind in Patagonia; which was the only place large enough, wild enough, and unique enough to incorporate the spirit and lore of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as another part of the adventure that awaits anyone who might be willing to jump into Patagonia’s arms.


1 Comment