Comments about ‘Was Duchesne farmer the Sundance Kid?’

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Published: Tuesday, Feb. 17 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

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Jerry Nickle

Alma New Mexico is a five-hour drive from Phoenix. We arrived in Alma 2:00pm Saturday. We went unannounced to the WS. Ranch where we found the present owners at home. The ranch is working cattle and horse ranch and a bed and breakfast during the season. The present owners grandfather purchased the ranch from Wilson and Stevens many years ago. We visited with the owners and they gave us a tour of the ranch. There is a section of the original adobe wall that is protected from the elements with a barn. They are several trees that were planted during the Butch Cassidy era. The cottonwood trees are enormous. They have a bunkhouse that was moved there in the late thirties which they have decorated old west style. There is a Butch Cassidy room and the rest of the rooms are named after old west characters. There are chickens, horses and cattle, which roam free around the yard. We hope to will return there this summer and stay in the bunkhouse.

Jerry Nickle

Near Alma New Mexico, some ten miles off the main highway, is Mogollon Ghost Town. Thinking of Ghost Town Bob we had to drive there to see it and give him a report here. It is the best most interesting ghost town I have ever visited. The buildings have been maintained and were all boarded up. There was a general store, a theater, and several other buildings. Because it was off-season the town was vacant of live people but I did see a couple of ghosts. I saw one ghost dash by an upstairs window at the hotel. I momentarily saw another one as it ran around the backside of the old store. Do a search for Mogollon Ghost Town and you will see what I mean when I say it is a premier Ghost Town.

Ghosttown Bob

I'm happy you had such a good time. Mogollon is one of the more impressive ghost towns in New Mexico. You did go at the right time, before the tourist season starts. Later in the year it gets relatively crowded. As a ghost town purist I have mixed feelings with towns such as Mogollon that have their buildings maintained and have a "tourist" presence about them. There is nothing like wandering around a true ghost.

Ghosttown Bob

Jerry: You didn't happen to run into Jim Lowe, "Red" Weaver or Charlie while you were at Alma or Mogollon did you?

St Nick

For some time I have thought that Hiram Beebe was the Sundance Kid. Does anyone have proof that he wasn't? And why haven't we done DNA testing on his body?

I have heard that Butch Cassidy had a daughter named Florence. So did Butch have a daughter named Florence?

I know this is a William Henry Long thread not Butch but it's not that far off topic. Sorry for all the questions. I hope these questions can be answered sincerely. I hope I come across that way. I don't have any know-it-all comments. Thanks.


The abilities, with a gun, that have been credited to Mr. Longabaugh, where exactly does this come from? Is there documented information proving this, or did it begin in 1969, with the performance of Mr. Redford?

Mrs. Ernst states, "Butch never killed anyone, until the end". (some believe the jury is still out on that final verdict) Is there a record of anyone that Sundance shot? If he never shot or killed anyone either, where did his reputation with a gun come from?

Does anyone know?

Jerry Nickle

In Bolivia Butch and Sundance were asked by Percy Seibert to demonstrate their ability with a handgun. Butch strapped on his six shooters and when ready nodded and they threw two beer bottles high in the air. When the bottles reached the top of the arc Butch would draw and hit both bottles. Sundance could do the same thing and they never missed. Percy Seibert was so impressed he told this story to author James Horan. All of the outlaws spent hours target practicing.

Butch told Seibert they would sometimes use their colt 45 pistols as a club on their victims. The victims would automatically raise their hands to protect themselves ending any resistance.


"Sundance could do the same thing and they never missed."

With due respect to Mr. Nickle and Mr. Horan, that is exciting to read. First drawback, as I see it, to this as proof of the boy's shooting abilities: most beer bottles don't carry guns, therefore could probably not shoot back. "Outlaws spent hours target praticing", again, few targets could return fire.

In Donna's new book on Sundance,she describes how the gentlemen, who had supposedly robbed the train near Malta, are in a saloon, when they see a posse coming. First thing they do is, "start throwing cartridges into the magazines of their Winchesters." In other words, these "outlaws/fast gunmen", all had their Winchesters at the ready. They just had to load them first.

Is it possible, George Roy Hill,and others, have slightly over cooked the real abilities of thses shooters? Just wondering.

Ghosttown Bob

October 12 1897
My dear mother. . . I came very near going to Deadwood, South Dakota for a few days . . . A young fellow, a friend of mine who worked for Al Reader up till the middle of July left here near the first of August and went up there, and about the first of the month was arrested on the charge of having been in the bank robbery at that place on June 28. He was here at Slater on June 27 and up at Als ranch on the 28th so couldnt possibly have taken part in the robbery. . .

Your aft. Son D. Gillespie

Just A. Reader

After reading the following information, is it any wonder why I sometimes question the accuracy and value of some of the "History" books.

I speak of the new book by Donna Ernst, on Sundance, her (husband's) relative, or maybe a relative of Jerry Nickle. Mrs Ernst tells us a lawman was hot on the trail of an outlaw (outlaws) near Cortez, Co, then three weeks later lost the trail at the Mississippi River???? In other words, the trail was lost somewhere between north of Minneapolis, Minnesota and New Orleans.

Does anybody proof read this stuff? She also says a sheriff and Harry headed west from St.Paul to Rapid City, SD. When they neared Duluth,Minnesota, Harry escaped. Take a moment, get your atlas and see where Duluth is, compared to heading west from St Paul. To publish information like this is just plain silly.



Ghosttown Bob,
One of several letters, the rest, I doubt she will ever make them available to the public.

Ghosttown Bob

The David Gillespie Papers are housed at the Museum of North West Colorado in Craig Colorado and are available are available to the public.


Not all of the Gillespie letters, Bob.

Just A Reader

Sorry to belabor a point, but it seems that one who takes the time to write a book, should put some effort into doing it right.

Another example from the new Ernst book on Sundance. She states, In 1882 Harry's oldest brother, sails to California from Maine on the MARY & HELEN. "PROBABLY VIA CAPE HORN". Think about the word "probably".

Would someone please explain, since the Panama Canal didn't open until 32 years later, in 1914, what other route would the MARY & HELEN take?

Pardon me, but this does seem, again a little silly. Does the other information contain this depth of thought?



Since I've noticed a few prior questions regarding the new Sundance book, maybe one who has collected a firearm or two over the years, will be allowed to ask for some help. A friend, who is reading the "Sundance" book just called with a question, I can't answer.

He states, that on Page 112, it says," (Carver) smoked the posse out of sight with a 30 U.S.

What in the world is a "30 U.S.?

Thanks to anyone who can help.


With all due respect to Dan Buck, seeing all the questions regarding the Sundance book, I borrowed a copy and can't help but question a word that Mr. Buck uses in his "foreward".

"Assiduously researched", is what Mr. Back says. One of the words the dictionary uses for assiduously is, "careful".

Interesting, is is not?


You Fellars Didn't Follow Up On The Oakley Polar King Reported Sighting.
"IM" And Quit Wasting Our Time Chasing Your Tales.


"What in the world is a "30 U.S.?""

That would be a .30-40, I believe--the cartridge for the Krag-Jorgensen rifle used by the US military from 1892 to 1904. It used the relatively new smokeless powder. In this case the cartridge was probably fired from a Model 1895 Winchester, frequently chambered for this cartridge. Elsewhere in her book Ernst mentions Sundance giving an 1895 Winchester to an acquaintance. Other outlaws such as the Ketchums and Elzy Lay favored this rifle/chambering according to Jeff Burton's book "Dynamite and Six-shooter."


Because of Zeke, I again learned something. Thank you, I guess I do confuse easily. In her first Sundance book, Mrs. Ernst claims Sundance's gun of choice was a single shot Colt. No cal. mentioned. Then in her latest work, she mentions how the Malta train robbers, when the posse was about to get them, grasped their empty Winchesters (so they could throw cartridges in the magazines) no cal. mentioned. Then the comment about Carver's 30 US. The way she describes weapons does seem to vary. Of course giving only the cal. does not describe the make, model, type of any firearm. Not really precise information. It is not what you would call precise either, when it is stated, the trail was lost three weeks later, somewhere between north of Minneapolis and New Orleans. It is interesting how the cal. of Carver's weapon has been handed down for 100 years. It also could have been a 44-40, 30-30 and as you know much better than I, there are many, many more.

Thank you again for your answer. Now maybe you can pinpoint where the trail was lost at the Mississippi River.


"In this case the cartridge was probably fired from a Model 1895 Winchester, frequently chambered for this cartridge. Elsewhere in her book Ernst mentions Sundance giving an 1895 Winchester to an acquaintance."

Zeke, I believe you are right. This would then mean, either Sundance and Will Carver used the same rifle or Carver allowed Sundance to give his rifle away.

I suppose that is a possibility.

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