Western Life

More Greatest Surviving Outlaws of the Old West

Stories about outlaws of the Old West have been the inspiration for many books and films, along with the relationships they had with the lawmen that pursued them. Here are two more infamous outlaws that live on through their infamous deeds.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Robert Lee Parker, aka Butch Cassidy, was born on April 13, 1866 and became infamous as a train and bank robber. He formed the Wild Bunch Gang between 1896 and 1897, for which he recruited Harry Longabaugh, who everybody referred to as The Sundance Kid. The Wild Bunch would avoid lawmen by separating after they committed a crime, and meeting up later at a previously arranged time and place. On June 2, 1899 the gang committed a robbery which resulted in one of the largest manhunts to take place in the 19th century, but they still managed to evade capture. Their story inspired a film based loosely on the events that happened before and after this robbery. 

As several members of the gang were lost, for various reasons, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid disappeared from lawmen’s radar. On November 3, 1908, in Bolivia, couriers were attacked by two masked men who stole their cargo and ponies. When the men checked in at a nearby lodging house the owner became suspicious, because they were travelling with a pony instead of horses, and reported their location to the authorities. Three soldiers, the sheriff and several others surrounded the house intending to surprise and capture the outlaws. As they were approaching shots were fired killing one soldier and injuring another. This began a standoff between the bandits and the lawmen, which lasted through the night. During a break in fire, screams were heard coming from the lodge; a shot was fired, followed by silence and then one final gunshot sounded in the otherwise silent night.

The following morning when the sheriff and his men entered the house, they found two dead bodies both riddled with bullet wounds in the arms and legs and a single head shot. They concluded that one of the men had shot his fatally wounded partner, before ending his own life with his last bullet. The Bolivian authorities buried the bodies in a nearby cemetery, but historians have still not been able to find the remains in order to compare the DNA with the living relatives of either Cassidy or Longabaugh.

Doc Holliday

John Henry, aka Doc Holliday, was born in Georgia in 1951, and studied to become a dentist. After he developed a chronic cough, as a result of a battle with tuberculosis, he moved to Texas and began gambling excessively. In addition, his love for alcohol during his poker matches resulted in many gunfights. After being accused of murder he moved to Tombstone, where he became friends with well-known lawman Wyatt Earp.

Doc Holliday was also accused of several train robberies but there was no proof for any of them. He was arrested after his wife signed a statement implicating him in hijacking a train, but because of his influence with the lawmen Holliday was released on bail and pardoned by the governor. He continued a cycle of committing crimes, getting arrested and then being released until his death at the age of 36 from complications resulting with his earlier tuberculosis infection.

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