Wyoming December 24, 2018
One Of America’s Most Infamous Outlaws Got His Name From This Small Wyoming Town
Wyoming’s history is wild – from Plains Wars to Emigrant Trails, to being the center of American Outlaw history. Our mountains and canyons were the perfect hideouts for bandits to store their hauls, and one tiny Wyoming town was put on the map by one of America’s most infamous outlaws.
Crook County, in Northeast Wyoming, is full of interesting stories from the earliest days of Wyoming history.
Out here, in the aptly named county, several of the nation's most infamous outlaws got their start. One, in particular, put a small town on the map.
Back in the late 1800s, a young ranch hand named Harry Alonzo Longabaugh lived in the area. In 1887 he stole a gun, horse and saddle from a ranch in the town of Sundance.
Longabaugh was captured by the cops and convicted of theievery. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail and served his time in town. Because he was just 20 years old, he earned the nickname Sundance Kid.
Today, in Sundance, a commemorative statue shows Longabaugh sitting in the Sundance Jail, and it's a popular photo spot for those who visit this Crook County town.
After his first run in with the law, the Sundance Kid continued working as a ranch hand. He most likely took part in a train robbery in 1892 and a bank robbery in 1897.
He met up with Butch Cassidy around 1897, and the two began their outlaw reign throughout the West.
Together, with a handful of other outlaws known as the Wild Bunch Gang, they got away with the longest string of train and bank robberies in the history of America.
Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and the Wild Bunch moved all around Wyoming and the American West, frequenting Johnson County's "Hole in the Wall" hideout.
Once, several lawmen tracked the gang to this remote location, and there was a shootout. Sundance Kid is thought to have wounded two officers. Though he was quick with a gun, these were the only two people shot by the Sundance Kid while he tore across the country.
The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy eventually fled the law, escaping to South America. It was here that they met their demise.
Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and Etta Place left America in 1901 and set sail for Argentina. There isn't much known about their time here, until November 3, 1908. A gunfight broke out when authorities tracked two bandits to town of San Vicente. After the gunfire ended, the police found both men dead. It was thought that one shot the other to end his suffering before turning the gun on himself. Both men were buried in the local cemetery, pictured above, though their identities were never verified. It is believed that the two outlaws were Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The Sundance Kid is one of the most famous outlaws of the American West, and to this day, his name is synonymous with shootouts, train robberies, and the wild, wild west.
Many people visit the town of Sundance today on their way to Devils Tower, and the town is worth stopping by to see the tiny town that helped leave a bloodstained mark on American history.
The history of Wyoming is truly wild, but it’s absolutely fascinating to hear these stories of American outlaws! If this kind of history interests you, read more about Wyoming’s infamous
Hole in the Wall Hideout.