Robert Leroy Parker was born April 13, 1866, in Beaver, Utah, the first of 13 children born to British immigrants Maximillian Parker and Ann Campbell Gillies. The Parker and Gillies families had converted in England and Scotland to the Mormon faith and immigrated to Utah. Maximilian Parker was 12 when his family arrived in Salt Lake in 1856; Ann Gillies arrived with her family in 1859, aged 14. The two were married in July 1865.
Robert Leroy Parker, named for his paternal grandfather, was the first of the 13 children of Maximillian and Ann Parker. He grew up on their ranch near Circleville, Utah,215 miles south of Salt Lake City. He left home during his early teens. While working at a dairy farm, he formed a close relationship with his mentor, a cowboy and cattle rustler who called himself Mike Cassidy (an alias for John Tolliver “J. T.” McClammy). Parker subsequently worked at several ranches, in addition to a brief stint as a butcher in Rock Springs, Wyoming, when he acquired the nickname “Butch”, to which he soon appended the surname Cassidy in honor of his old friend.
He associated with a circle of criminals, most notably his closest friend Elzy Lay, Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan, Ben Kilpatrick, Harry Tracy, Will “News” Carver, Laura Bullion, and George Curry, who became the nucleus of the Wild Bunch.
On August 13, 1896, Cassidy, Lay, Harvey Logan and Bob Meeks robbed the bank at Montpelier, Idaho, escaping with approximately $7,000. Shortly thereafter he[clarification needed] recruited Harry Longabaugh, alias “The Sundance Kid”, a native of Pennsylvania, into the Wild Bunch.
In early 1897, Cassidy was joined at Robbers Roost by Ann Bassett, Elzy Lay, and Lay’s girlfriend Maude Davis. The four hid there until early April, when Lay and Cassidy sent the women home so that they could plan their next robbery. On April 21, 1897, in the mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, Cassidy and Lay ambushed a small group of men carrying the payroll of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company, stealing a sack containing $7,000 in gold, with which they fled to the Robbers Roost.
On June 2, 1899, the gang robbed a Union Pacific Overland Flyer near Wilcox, Wyoming, a robbery that became famous and which resulted in a massive man hunt. Many notable lawmen of the day took part in the hunt for the robbers, but they were not found.
During a shootout with lawmen following that robbery, both Kid Curry and George Curry shot and killed Sheriff Joe Hazen. Tom Horn, a killer for hire employed by the Pinkerton Agency, obtained information from explosives expert Bill Speck about the Hazen shooting, and Horn passed this information to Pinkerton detective Charlie Siringo. The gang escaped into the Hole-In-The-Wall. Siringo was assigned the task of capturing the outlaw gang. He became friends with Elfie Landusky, who was using the last name Curry after allegedly becoming pregnant by Kid Curry’s brother, Lonny. Through her, Siringo intended to locate the gang.
On July 11, 1899, Lay and others were involved in a Colorado and Southern Railroad train robbery near Folsom, New Mexico, which Cassidy may have planned and personally directed. A shootout ensued with local law enforcement in which Lay killed Sheriff Edward Farr and Henry Love; Lay was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment at New Mexico State Penitentiary.
The Wild Bunch would separate following a robbery and flee in different directions, reuniting at a predetermined location, such as the Hole-in-the-Wall hideout, Robbers Roost, or Madame Fannie Porter’s brothel, in San Antonio, Texas.
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It was 1902 when Butch and Sundance ended up robbing a bank that happened to have Will and Sparrow inside. It went wrong from the moment they stepped into the building. In the end Sundance and Butch escaped with the two Vampires’ help, and ended up Turned.
No one was surprised they were Mates.