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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tartan cowboy

Another thought.
Surely SK was not so short on brain cell functioning that he wasn't aware that travelling back and forth so visibly was a dangerous affair.Was he then a willing participant in this madness? If so why? was he so besotted with ethel he would risk incarceration/death.Or is it not so much a case of unrequited love,but cold hard cash? Was he not such a criminal mastermind as to plan and implement his own robberies? did he need leadership?Perhaps when BC/EP put this plan to him he was only too glad to have a good steady wage coming in,but when it was over he was again destitute and looking to hook up with someone else? Was the trail then leading away from BC?How big a player was he with H/H/N?Did sk stay on in SA to carry on robbing with someone else?
Would still like your views on the 1936 photo proposing to be BC in the kirby book.



You certainly asked a lot of interesting questions. I'll do my best to answer them by way of stating my opinions based upon my deductive reasoning from assumed or established facts. Please remember my use of the word "opinions".

1.) If Harry is a Red Herring then I deduce that he was cast in that role on or before November 1, 1900 at Slater, CO, when he and Butch were at McIntosh's complex saying goodbye to Gillespie and the other Little Snake Valley men. Since "Ethel" is apparently not present, she couldn't have been one of the instigators of Harry's role as Red Herring. Then too, because Gillespie received her photograph with Harry, if "Ethel" were a local girl she would have been recognized by someone in Routt County, CO or Carbon County, WY. Therefore "Ethel" must be foreign to those parts. That would be consistent with "Ethel" showing up for the first time post Fort Worth and either in Buffalo or NYC.

Continued .........


2.) If Harry is The Red Herring on or before November 1, 1900, and if his trail begins on the Little Snake and then to TX, NY, and SA is clearly marked, I deduce that the place Harry is leading us away from is WY and CO, and that the people he is leading us away from are the cattlemen and associated gang members in those locations.

3.)It would not be reasonable for Harry to volunteer to be the Red Herring and run the risk of apprehension and/or death. Therefore, I deduce that Harry was coerced into that role. Coercion could come from threatening to "finger" Harry for the Winnemucca bank job and refusing to alibi him for the Belle Fourche bank job. Remember that although Harry had an alibi for Belle Fourche he chose to escape jail. Had he gone to trial and subpoenaed his witnesses, he would have been found not guilty as was Tom O'Day --Punteney was not brought to trial. But then, that would have drawn attention to people at Little Snake, the locus of his alibi witnesses. This is the first instance of Little Snake men not wanting to be identified.


If Harry told Gillespie the truth about not being involved in robberies, and if he was truthful to his friend that he was broke, then I deduce that Harry was wrongfully "framed" for the Winnemucca Bank job. If so, I deduce that framing Harry was additional coercion to become Harry The Red Herring. His choice would be, in effect, a certain life sentence or at least a chance of getting away, if he performed his role faithfully. A limited choice is better than none at all.

4.) It ought not matter to either the H/N/N group and their financiers if Harry leads law enforcement away from Little Sanke or not. They are in the business of robbing entire Latin American countries, penalties for which, of course, will never be paid. To that end our three amigos have the protection of vice-counsel Newberry at the entrance point to SA, and the protection of vice-counsel Aller and Charge d Affairs Benson at the exit point. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that Butch, Harry, and Ethel are traveling in some very powerful international company.


Mr. Tartan Cowboy:

You might want to ask Ed Kirby direct about the picture you question, that is on page 107 of his Saga book. The last e/m add I had for him was (sundance2@earthlink.net) That has been a few years ago. In my last conversation with Mr. Kirby, he indicated he was getting into other areas.

I believe you will eventually learn, as some other poster said, there are three pictures of RLP or Butch Cassidy....mug shot, Ft. Worth photo and the cabin picture in SA. Yes there are many, many other pictures that different ones claim to be Butch. There are even some who claim to know where he is buried. The number of these picture and burial site claims are roughly equal. Do you think, with the close relationship with Butch's sister Lula, that Kirby had, they might have discussed this point? Believe what you wish.

A bit back, it was mentioned, each time something is written about history, it is changed, when of course, original reality does not.


5.)Once the "Mission Accomplished" flag is raised, Ethel's job is finished because the International Cattle combine can ship cattle 150 miles to Chile as opposed to 1600 miles to BA. This presupposes that Ethel is the finance representative for the combine. Evidence of this is Ms Ernst's discovery of the passenger manifest for Ms. E. Place, arriving NY from Colon on July 29, 1905, which corresponds to Harry's June 28, 1905 letter of farewell from Chile. What we know of Ethel is that she was with Harry in January, 1901, in Buffalo, at the Pierce Invalides Hotel, and subsequently in NYC between Febuary 1 and February 20, 1901. Well, there actually was an Ethel Place, born in NY state in April, 1879. That would fit the age of "Ethel Place" to a 'T'. Her father, Charles T. Place was a wealthy "Manager" of a publicly held corporation. What is more, Ethel Place was single into 1910, and was a professional nurse, which means she would have had knowledge of the Pierce Medical Clinic in her home state. Ever wonder how Harry and a Texas Hooker would have known about the high-falutin' Pierce clinic?

Continued .............


"Harry had an alibi for Belle Fourche he chose to escape jail. Had he gone to trial and subpoenaed his witnesses, he would have been found not guilty as was Tom O'Day --Punteney was not brought to trial." Butch states.

Butch are you sure of this? Some say O'Day and Punteney were both tried for the Belle Fourche robbery. They were both acquitted. Whether them not being in on the robbery had anything to do with the verdict, I don't know.


Finally, Butch and Harry come full circle and show up back where they started in Carbon County in 1908. Harry is with Bert Charter, and Butch is wandering about Rawlins, unmolested. Why? The Nevada and South Dakota Statutes of Limitations have tolled, and neither man could be convicted of any crime. Neat, isn't it?

One final thing. "Ethel" Place is transformed into "Etta Place" in 1906. Remember that Olin Emmery said that Mrs. Charter and Mary Calvert Lay knew "Etta Place" in Fort Duchesne? Was Etta Place the girl that Harry left behind and then re-united with when he was free of coercion? Was "Ethel Place" Harry The Red Herring's "leash". Do we have Etta Place I and Etta Place II?

Parting Week-end Shot. Butch's SA alias was James P. Ryan. James P. Ryan was the Sheriff who arrested Harry in 1887 and locked him up at Sundance, WY. Was Butch Harry The Red Herring's "Jailor", a constant reminder that if he stepped out of his assigned role he would spend the rest of his natural life behind bars?



Well, I'm pretty sure. I had the help of Doug Engebretsen, author of "Empty Saddles, Forgotten Names", his wife Pat at the Belle Fourche Libray, the staff of the Adams House and Museum in Deadwood, and the staff of the South Dakota archives in Piere. What the Cherokee and I came up with were the newspaper reports of the day that, to sum up, said that O'Day was tried and acquitted (as opposed to found "Not Guilty") which so disgusted the authorities they elected not to put Punteney on trial. It makes sense since the evidence against O'Day's participation in the robbery was much stronger than for Punteney. O'Day was captured at Belle Fourche immediately after the robbery.

By the way, I'd like to plug Doug's book. I think it is the best in print on Belle Fourche, and the history of the area running up to Miles City. Doug is one of the best investigators I know and he writes with precision, knowledge, and spell-binding prose. I think it belongs in everyone's library.


The family of Ethel Place, daughter of Charles T Place, was not The Ethel Place.That family,daughter and grandaughter, would like to be left alone.BTW, she did not become a nurse until 1911.



Thank you. Of course the family's wishes should be respected, and I pledge to do so. Merely for the purpose of avoiding any further intrusion on the family's privacy, I would like to know if I ought to avoid the other "Ethel Place" and "Charles Place" names in NY circa 1900 that fit the 1879-1880 and 1845-1950 birth dates? For the same purpose, can you tell me if the "Ethel Place" listed as a nurse on the 1910 census is the Ethel Place who did not become a nurse until 1911? Is this the same person? Several of the "Ethel Place" names, with appropriate birthdates appear later as married women, which would fit Ms. Ernst's discovery of "Mrs. E. Place" as opposed to an unmarried person.

Please convey my sincere apologies to the family.


Regarding "Butch" photographs. I think Anonymous is correct about both Butch and Harry photographs. Each of the accepted ones pre-date the San Vicente November 6, 1908 shootout. Each of the accepted photographs have been "sourced" by credible means such as penitentary records, Pinkerton files, or, in the case of the Cholila photographs, their appearance in Argentina. The early photographs of Butch are questioned because they can't be sourced. The early photographs of Harry, in the possession of the Longabaugh family, are undoubtedly authentic, but probably not of much use in settling the question of whether or not Butch and Harry survived SA.

Unless and until we can definatively determine who died at San Vicente on November 6, 1908, there will always be a cloud on any Pinkerton report or published sighting or photograph of either person that purports to be post November 6, 1908.

The same holds true for family or direct descendant statements that Butch or Harry did or did not survive SA. Lula Parker Betenson published her recollection that she saw Butch in 1925. Her recollection has been attacked on the basis that she had to be mistaken because "Butch died at San Vicente".


tartan cowboy

Mr anonymous:
I am well aware that there are only three "official"Butch photos,and you are seemingly saying this is definitive.History does throw out hitherto unknown gems from time to time i'm sure.if we discount any and all material because it doesn't fit with the party line then evolution on any level hits stasis.I'm sure you've forgotten more on this subject then i could ever discover and bow to your superior knowledge and therefor respectfully choose not to narrow the margins of possibility.Thankyou for your timely response.
There's a lot going on there,need time to filter this through my not so quick mind.So post 1905 do BC/sk stay in SA together robbing payrolls and working at the concordia tine mines? Seems more likely SK would want to put a slug in his back if BC was instrumental in stealing five years of his life under house arrest!What then was the significance of the photographs of SK?Another weapon to frame him with? why the deyoung photo?What activities were they up to post 1908 and how far can you trail them into the century?


Donna Ernst has twice published that Butch and Sundance died at San Vicente and has been criticized on the basis that they were repeatedly seen alive after 1908, including Mrs. Betenson.

Never-the-less, I believe all research is valuable if only because even wrong answers are helpful in that they eliminate eroneous possiblities. Witness the blog from jimlyn. The Ethel Place I offered as a possibility has been eliminated. 1 down and countless others to go.

The same holds true for my Dumb Qestions. The questions are dumb all right, and therefore ought to have readily apparent answers. Those that do have answers can be eliminated from further consideration. If the answer isn't readily apparent, then perhaps we ought to look further at it.

Unfortunately whether Ms Betenson, Ms Ernst, Ms Meadows (yikes! The ladies really are smarter than us guys!) or Mr. Buck corageously go into print, an element of the public will discount their entire effort because, in their opinion, the conclusion is wrong. That is truly unfortunate, and seriously limits the evidence available to debate or discuss a point or attempt to answer a dumb question.

I'm happy to hear different opinions.



1.) If Harry put a slug into Butch he would eliminate his diplomatic protection and the gang at Little Snake would either send him to the pen or return the favor.

2.) I am of the opinion neither Butch nor Harry ever committed a crime anywhere in SA, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru included. If they had they would have seriously jepordized the Cattle Venture and I think the consequences would have been most unpleasant for them. It isn't a good idea for your continued good health to mess with Big Boys like Diplomats, the Department of State, J. P. Morgan, Alsop & Company, Rothschilds, et al.

3.)Officially, the last word I have of Harry is the 1908 Pinkerton report placing him on the Little Snake with Bert Charter. From the description of his companion, I judge Elzy Lay to be with him, fresh from NM.

However, if you buy into the Etta Place I and II theory, "The Girl He Left Behind", well then, my friend, I would point you in the direction of one Harry Longabaugh, Jr. Find his real Mama and you will know what happened to Harry post 1908.

Continued .......

tartan cowboy

re photographs. I reiterate that i dont say that any unauthenticated photos are true images,but that any and all merit looking into.I agree that some photos of other outlaws are so obviously wrong that they are laughable,but when there is a resemblence further discussion may spark something.As i said I'm sure anonymous has forgotten more on this subject than i will ever find out he has my respect, i just feel intimating something is definitive is narrowing possibilities.


Butch is easier. As far as the latest credible sighting, I'm inclined toward 1941 simply because my opinion of State Troopers is very high and I've found Mormons to be incredibly honest, straight forward people. When a Mormon Utah State Trooper says he gave Butch Cassidy a warning ticket, I flat out believe him, no questons asked.



The only possible purpose the Fort Worth Five or DeYong photographs served, as far as I can tell, was to help mark the trail of the Red Herring to TX and NY and provide a photo of his unforgettable traveling companion for Frank Dimaio to show to the steamship companies and banks in BA. Remember, other than Mr. Buck and Ms. Meadows' contention that Ethel robbed a bank in SA, she wasn't wanted for a crime, and since Mr. Buck and Ms. Meadows don't have authority to issue arrest warrants, I expect we will just have to accept the lady as law abiding.

I take the Cholila photos for what they appear to be: A rememberance of SA. They were never used to track the 3 amigos.



I agree wholeheartedly that all purported photos ought to be looked at carefully. I also agree that, provided Butch and Harry survived SA, there ought to be a pile of photographs left to discover. Because I believe that Butch and Harry survived I believe that the present "definative" photos will be added to in quantity. My favorite for post 1908 photos are Butch on Horseback in Mexico, circa 1910.

I base my opinion on Mrs. Betenson's published letter collection.

For pre-1908 photos, my favorite is from Anne Goddard Charter of Butch, Standing Unknown, and Bert Charter. That one really interests me. However, I date the photo exactly one year earlier than the date given in her book. Mrs. Charter was very careful to say that the photo and it's provenance were supplied by another person. Mrs. Betenson was careful to say the same about the photo in her book. Both ladies were entirely responsible, and neither can be fairly attacked for including the photos in their respective books.

My bet is that as soon as the San Vicente question is settled both of these photos are accepted as authentic.


As far as the latest credible sighting, I'm inclined toward 1941 simply because my opinion of State Troopers is very high and I've found Mormons to be incredibly honest, straight forward people. When a Mormon Utah State Trooper says he gave Butch Cassidy a warning ticket, I flat out believe him, no questons asked.

It is pleasing to read this from Mr. Butch. I was fortunate to know the brother of a man who worked with the Utah Trooper you speak of. He said, Merrill (sp) never spoke anything but the truth. I have always thought this to be the most credible of all the "sighting stories". I don't believe Mr. Buck agrees.

The gentleman I speak of, now deceased, Bob J Nielson, lived and ranched in Vernal, Utah. A highly respected individual.

Mr. TC. Did not and will not, claim I know more than you or anyone. Just sharing some of what I believe to be an accepted fact of the "Cassidy" pictures. There are many, and much wiser than I, that also subscribe to this belief. Providing that and info on Kirby was just trying to help.

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