Recently, a new theory on the life of Old West outlaw Butch Cassidy from broke worldwide on news outlets from India to Ireland. Larry Pointer, the originator of the theory, is the author of In Search of Butch Cassidy, and his papers are available for research at the AHC. Cassidy, Pointer insists, may not have actually died in a Bolivian gunfight in 1908 as was previously believed. Pointer and Utah rare book collector, Brent Ashworth, claim to have uncovered a two hundred page- manuscript titled “Bandit Invincible: The Story of Butch Cassidy,” dated from 1934, and written by a William T. Phillips, who died in 1937, in Spokane, Washington. The manuscript was written as a biography, but Pointer and Ashworth maintain that it is an autobiography, including details too specific to Cassidy’s life to have been written by anyone else. Of course, there are those who disagree with the new findings, such as fellow Cassidy historian Dan Buck. But reports of Cassidy sightings after his alleged death in San Vicente, Bolivia, abound, and Pointer even claims that Phillips’s stepson, William R. Phillips, believes his stepfather was Butch Cassidy. While the facts of Butch Cassidy’s life continue to be debated by historians, we can all be entertained by the idea of a lawless, Old West figure whose life continues to draw speculation.
Other AHC holdings related to outlaws include the Jim Dullenty Papers, the National Outlaw and Lawman Association (NOLA) Collection, and the Eugene Franklin Thomas Papers.
–Kathryn Brooks, Project Archivist