Butch Cassidy is associated today with Paul Newman’s crooked smile and smooth lines in the 1969 Hollywood classic “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Though much of the film is obviously fictionalized a few key elements seem to be true to the real character of Butch Cassidy, or Robert LeRoy Parker, as he was born.
Just as the film’s ending leaves the ultimate fate of Cassidy ambiguous, historians also seem to be unclear as to the details of his actual death. One thing, however, is certain, Butch Cassidy returned time and again to his Utah hometown of Circleville and surrounding areas, and much of the myth and the legend was created here.
Born in Beaver, Utah, Cassidy, or “Roy” as his family and friends called him, moved to Circleville (located in the Bryce Canyon area) around the age of 13. Today his boyhood house in Circleville and a small museum filled with family artifacts still stand as a testament to his original, family-oriented, Mormon environment. Many attributes Butch’s famous rumored no-murder policy to his Christian upbringing. There are many stories from the people of Circleville and surrounding areas to back up the claim that Cassidy was one of the kinder outlaws of the time and is often viewed as a Robin Hood of sorts.
With pressure from the law, it is well documented that Cassidy spent time in South America and some people suggest that he was killed there. However, several family members claim that Butch did not die in South America, and locals can recall a day when the Parker family returned from having been out of town. Locals asked where they had been, and their reply was “We’ve been out to bury Butch”.