This May Be How Butch Cassidy Got His Nickname

Butch Cassidy is a notorious name when it comes to American outlaws. Cassidy — born Robert Leroy Parker in 1866 — came from a poor family in Utah. He was the eldest of 13 children and decided to leave home when he was 18 years old in order to have a better life. Before he left, he told his mother that there was nothing for him in Utah, and the pay was low. "Gotta be thinking about my future," he said. According to Biography, Parker was able to get work in different ranches, but he ultimately settled with rancher Mike Cassidy, who would eventually become his mentor.

Cassidy was known for stealing horses and cattle, and Parker idolized him. Soon, Parker changed his name to George Cassidy, per Wyoming Tales and Trails, to honor his mentor and also to avoid bringing shame to his devoutly Mormon family. Mike then suddenly disappeared after he allegedly killed a rancher.

Butch Cassidy's life of crime

After Mike Cassidy's disappearance, George Cassidy went on to work for another rancher named Charlie Crouse in 1885. Aside from running a ranch, Crouse also owned a butcher shop where Cassidy worked. It was there where he got the name Butcher Cassidy, which was eventually shortened to Butch Cassidy — the name he would carry for the rest of his life (via Wyoming Tales and Trails).

Cassidy wanted a better life than what he had in Utah, but he went about it illegally. His first big robbery was in 1889 when he, together with three other cowboys, robbed a Colorado bank. The loot was an astounding $20,000, as reported by Biography, which is equivalent to almost $600,000 in today's money. Cassidy lived a life of crime and was in and out of jail. He was released from prison in 1896 and formed the Wild Bunch — a group of outlaws — together with Harry Longabaugh, more popularly known as the Sundance Kid. The Wild Bunch embarked on a series of bank and train robberies, and they gained attention from authorities.

It is said that Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fled to Bolivia in the early 1900s. It was there were two foreigners — believed to be the outlaws — were gunned down by authorities, per History. However, there was no positive identification of the two men before they were buried. Some believe that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were able to evade capture and return to the United States.