Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were two of the most notorious outlaws of the American Wild West. Pursued by the law, Butch moved through Wyoming until he was given 18 months inside for stealing horses. On his release, Butch formed his own gang of train and bank robbers – the Wild Bunch – which included the Sundance Kid, born Harry Longabaugh. Usually depicted in history, literature in film for their flair and daring, not their violence. Butch himself proudly proclaimed: “I have never killed a man,” and would shoot at his pursuers horses rather than the men themselves.
Most people are familiar with their story through the eponymous 1969 film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford in which they flee to Bolivia to escape the law. But what is not covered in the film is the time they spent in Patagonia.
In the early 1900’s, Patagonia was a mysterious, faraway land making it the perfect place to disappear. The two friends settled in Cholila, a remote part of Chubut province, with the modern-day equivalent of two and a half million dollars in their pockets from a bank robbery in Nevada.
To hide their true identity, they changed their names from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to Enrique Place and James Ryan and established a farm, trading with the locals and integrating themselves into the community. It’s said that they were trying to lead honest lives.
After five years they were discovered by the Pinkerton Agency who had been hired to track them down. Fleeing to Bolivia, they were eventually killed in a gunfight in 1907.
Today, it’s possible to visit the original hut in which they lived. Identified only by a small sign at the side of a gravel road, it’s then a 10minute walk to their farm. Although the hut in which they lived has been recently restored, many of the original features still remain. And that two and a half million dollars has to be hidden somewhere!