Legend of the Wild West
Outlaw or Hero?"My father, he carried the mail, and he always stopped and had dinner at a certain place [in Red Canyon]. While he was having dinner, old Butch Cassidy came to his camp. He told about these fellows following him. He got up on this ledge, and when they got pretty close, he shot right between them. Well, those old fellows spurred their horses...and went back. Butch started to eat, then he would just keel over laughing..."
-Thomas Richards, Tropic resident, Southern Utah Oral History Project.
This remote and rugged country has attracted many characters, but none so legendary as Butch Cassidy. Born Robert Leroy Parker in Beaver, Utah, Cassidy was the oldest of 13 childen of Mormon immigrants. While still in his teens, Cassidy took up cattle rustling, then armed robbery. In the 1890s, he formed a gang, The Wild Bunch, which included Harry Longabaugh, better known as The Sundance Kid. Though an outlaw for much of his life, Cassidy's charisma and reputation as a champion of the common man have built his heroic stature in American folklore.
Fact or Fiction
Truth mingles with fiction in stories of Cassidy's colorful life. No aspect of his life has sparked more debate than the circumstances of his death. Some believe he was shot in Bolivia in 1908, but many local residents recall seeing Cassidy years after that. Their stories lend credibility to a different ending to Cassidy's story - that he gave up crime, changed his name, and died in 1937.
In Cassidy Country
Butch Cassidy's legend lives on in Red Canyon. Walk, bike, and horseback ride on the 9-mile Cassidy Trail (½-mile west of here on Highway 12), believed to have been used by the outlaw. Also, if your travels take you north on Highway 89 toward Circleville, you can see the cabin where Cassidy was raised. Stop at the Red Canyon Visitor Center for more information about exploring Cassidy Country.