Old Manuscript Reopens Butch Cassidy Mystery

Rare books collector thinks he has proof Cassidy survived shootout
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2011 12:10 PM CDT
Old Manuscript Reopens Butch Cassidy Mystery
This image provided by the Nevada Historical Society shows the famous group portrait taken in Fort Worth, Texas shortly after Butch Cassidy and his gang robbed the Einnemucca, Nev., bank in 1900.   (AP Photo/Nevada Historical Society, File)

Some have long believed that notorious outlaw Butch Cassidy survived the 1908 shootout in Bolivia that supposedly killed him—and now a rare books collector says he has a manuscript offering proof. Bandit Invincible: The Story of Butch Cassidy, a 200-page manuscript from 1934, is a much longer version of an unpublished novella of the same name by William T. Phillips. A book collector and author say the manuscript contains information only Cassidy knew, and could actually be an autobiography—meaning Phillips, who died in 1937, was actually Cassidy.

Phillips claims to have known Cassidy since childhood, the AP reports. He writes of Cassidy's meeting with a judge in 1895 and of his encounter with a rustler who told him about a secret hiding spot, including details in both anecdotes likely known only by Cassidy, the collector and author say. But a Cassidy historian says it's more likely that Phillips simply knew Cassidy or his friends, and calls the idea of Phillips actually being Cassidy "total horse pucky." The manuscript, he adds, "doesn't bear a great deal of relationship to Butch Cassidy's real life, or Butch Cassidy's life as we know it." Click to read more about the manuscript. (Read more Butch Cassidy stories.)

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