Butch Cassidy, born Robert Leroy Parker, was born in Utah in 1866 and grew up to become one of the most infamous outlaws of the American West. Butch robbed banks and trains and also engaged in horse theft and cattle rustling. Although born to a religious Mormon family, Butch Cassidy devoted his life to crime. Well, I’m certainly not following the Butch Cassidy’s footsteps in the concept of following his career path, but a few weeks ago on a recent trip to a remote area in north central Wyoming, I literally walked in his footsteps!
During Cassidy’s life as a criminal, he favored a few locations to hide out in between committing his crimes; one such location in Wyoming is known as The Hole in the Wall. “The Wall” is a red rock escarpment that runs for nearly fifty miles and is broken at only one notch along its entire length. The remote location coupled with difficult access via the one passage through the wall made for an easily defensible hideout for late 19th century outlaws. Cassidy was not the only outlaw that spent time hiding here, but a conglomeration of bandits also used the Hole in the Wall hideout. Ultimately, the loose band of criminals became known as the Hole in the Wall Gang.
Only a handful of ranches and hunting outfitters still operate in the area making Hole in the Wall country as remote as it was in Cassidy’s time. Other than the grass, sagebrush, and expansive views, the only other thing I would describe to be in abundance is barbed wire fences; I drove through numerous gates to get to The Hole in the Wall and it was a challenge to keep fence lines out of my photographs.
Butch Cassidy spent time in prison for some of his crimes but later in his criminal career he fled the United States and was killed in a shootout in South America in late 1908. Thankfully by tracing his footsteps I won’t meet the same fate!