One of the Old West’s most storied personalities was the outlaw “Butch Cassidy”, whose real name was Robert Leroy Parker. In the late 1800s, Cassidy, along with his partner, Harry Longbaugh, also known as the Sundance Kid, and other members of their gang, better known as “The Wild Bunch”, were credited with many adventures in crime, widespread throughout the mountain west. The story of “Butch” and “Sundance” was told in a major Hollywood film, starring Paul Neman and Robert Redford in the 1960s, titled Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which almost elevated these criminals to cult status, because of their arrogant, no-holds attitudes to their crimes, while at the same time enjoying immense popularity with their friends and neighbors. In August 1896, “Butch” and cohorts in crime, Bob Meeks and Elza Lay were credited with holding up The Bank of Montpelier in a daring raid, as reported below in Montpelier’s local newspaper.
Taken from MONTPELIER EXAMINER, Saturday, August 15, 1896
DARING ROBBERY! BANK ROBBED OF $5,000
Done by Three Men Quietly and Quickly.
On Thursday afternoon, at 3:20 o’clock, while the citizens of Montpelier were quietly engaged in their usual daily avocations, three men, none of them masked, rode quietly down Washington street to the Bank of Montpelier and dismounted. Cashier Gray and Ed. Hoover were standing in front of the building talking. One of the men invited them inside, at the same time drawing a six-shooter. They did as directed, and when inside were told to stand with their faces to the wall and hands up. Two more men who happened to pass the bank door were also ordered in. Then one of the robbers went around behind the counter and held up Bud McIntosh, the assistant cashier, taking all of the money in sight and dumping it into a sack. Bud refused to tell where the greenbacks were and the man inside hit him over the eye with a gun. After ransacking the bank vault they went out, mounted their horses and rode off.
The alarm spread quickly, and Deputy Cruickshank and Attorney Bagley were soon on the trail closely followed by Sheriff Davis, who was in Paris when the robbery occurred, and a large posse.
The robbers took the canyon road leading to Thomas’ fork. When several miles away they changed horses and, crossing Thomas’ creek, took to the mountains.
Telegrams were immediately sent to all point along the railway and to Lander, Wyoming, and a reward of $500 offered for their capture by Mr. Gray.
Yesterday morning Deputy Cruickshank returned from the chase, leaving Sheriff Davis and his men still (in) pursuit.
The bank’s loss will be about $5,000, but it is fully insured against daylight robberies. Mr. Gray will, therefore, lose little, if anything, by this occurrence.
Later—it was rumored that the fugitives had outfitted themselves with three fresh horses eight miles from Cokeville.
NOTES. It was a regular Kansas holdup. COUNCILMAN Perkins came along just as the robbers were finishing up, and they made him come in and hold up his hands. The streets had few people on them, and no teams. It was some time before horses could be secured for pursuit. Thursday night crowds of men stood about the streets discussing the robbery, and all sorts of rumors were about.
Assistant Cashier McIntosh lays the robbery to the fatal number of 13. It was the 13th day of the month; the affair occurred at 13 minutes past 3 o’clock, $13 was the last deposit made before the occurrence, and 13 drafts had been issued during the day. Several other items relative to 13 can also be found. Orson Pendry came over from Paris with $50 in money to help the bank start yesterday, if it was needed.
The Montpelier bank is protected by five thousand dollars insurance and this will cover nearly if not all of the loss sustained by the robbery. The bank will be open this morning with plenty of money for business. Many merchants yesterday tendered Mr. Gray all the currency they had to allow him to open if he so desired, but the cashier refused the offer, saying that he would have plenty of money here this morning. The bank is in no way impaired by the occurrence and will go along the same as If nothing had happened.
The Montpelier Examiner January 27, 1897
Met “Butch” Cassidy – John Gitting, who used to be a deputy sheriff in this county, and who is now generally riding down on the desert, says: “Last Sunday I was riding after cattle and when night fell I pitched camp near the Big Hole on the Green River road and was surprised very shortly after dark to see a horseman ride up and dismount. I immediately recognized ‘Butch’ Cassidy, for it was none other than he, and he was loaded to the muzzle, carrying two six shooters and a winchester. I was unarmed, and he prepared to camp with me, though I believe others of his party were near by, and his sole purpose was to ‘pump’ me about matters which he knew me to be acquainted with, but I would give him no satisfaction, and finally turned the conversation to the Montpelier bank robbery. He made no ‘bones’ about his connection with that affair, and laughingly averred that there was not much in that layout, but he was now ‘on’ to a bigger haul than that made at Montpelier. Cassidy was not at all nervous, and in the morning after breakfast he saddled up, adjusted his Winchester and rode off toward the Buckhorn mountains, stating that he was going to make for Colorado.”
Gitting claims that he could have easily captured ‘Butch’ had he been armed, but he thinks it was safer to not be hunting a man like Cassidy, anyhow—Salt Lake Tribune.