Legend Has It Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid Famously Robbed A Small Town Nevada Bank
A bank robbery that took place in Winnemucca on September 19, 1900 would go down in history as one of the town’s most well-known historic incidents. Legend has it that the infamous Butch Cassidy along with his right-hand man the Sundance Kid were behind the robbery. The town would even go on to celebrate Butch Cassidy Days every year to commemorate this gun-toting outlaw. However, there may be more to the story than how the legend tells it.
As legend has it, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid robbed the First National Bank of Winnemucca on Wednesday, September 19, 1900. Well, that's the story that's been passed down through the years anyway. It's widely believed that Cassidy actually did NOT make this robbery. In fact, the robbers were never caught.
At the time, the First National Bank was located on the northwest corner of Fourth Street and Bridge Street in Winnemucca. Around midday on September 19, three unmasked men held the bank cashier, George S. Nixon, at gunpoint and stole a substantial $32,640 in gold coin.
After stealing the gold, the three men made a quick escape out the back of the bank and took off on horseback. Nixon (pictured below) came out a moment later with a revolver and exchanged a few shots, but to no avail.
Right after the robbery, Winnemucca citizens formed a posse and attempted to chase down the dastardly thieves. However, it seemed like this was far from the robbers' first rodeo. They even went as far as staging fresh horses every ten miles or so on their escape path so they would never have to slow down.
The robbers were chased as far as Clover Valley before the posse gave up. An investigation was made into uncovering the identities of the three men but without much luck. As a last-ditch effort, Nixon was sent a photo of a group known as the "Wild Bunch", including Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Longbaugh—otherwise known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
As the notoriety of these infamous bandits grew, it became almost a source of pride for Winnemucca residents to state their town had been robbed by the great Butch Cassidy. The town even held an annual "Butch Cassidy Days" celebration for several years to remember what is now known as Winnemucca's Great Bank Robbery.
It's now known that on the day of the robbery, Cassidy was actually in Wyoming planning a train robbery. He couldn't have robbed the First National Bank. However, no conclusions have been made on the rest of the Wild Bunch, including the Sundance Kid, so there may be
some truth to this quirky legend.
Did you know about Winnemucca’s Butch Cassidy legend? Check out this list of
10 Historical Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Nevada for more fascinating tidbits about our state!
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