The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

3.6 8
by Thom Hatch
     
 

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The Old West was coming to an end.
Two legendary outlaws refused to go with it.
 
As leaders of the Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid executed the most daring bank and train robberies of their day. For several years at the end of the 1890s, the two friends, along with a revolving band of thieves, eluded law enforcement while

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Overview

The Old West was coming to an end.
Two legendary outlaws refused to go with it.
 
As leaders of the Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid executed the most daring bank and train robberies of their day. For several years at the end of the 1890s, the two friends, along with a revolving band of thieves, eluded law enforcement while stealing from the rich bankers and Eastern railroad corporations who exploited Western land…until they rode headlong into the twentieth century.
 
In The Last Outlaws, Thom Hatch brings these memorable characters to life like never before. From their early holdup attempts to that fateful day in Bolivia, Hatch draws on a wealth of fresh research to go beyond the myth and provide a compelling new look at these legends of the Wild West.

 Includes Photographs

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Butch and Sundance…continue to beguile us. The author is expert in patching together what is known about these furtive characters.”—The Dallas Morning News
 
“Extremely well written…a must read for any fan of the Old West and the outlaw life.”—Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT)

“Mr. Hatch [is] an accomplished historian with a journalist’s eye and a novelist’s touch.”—The Washington Times

“Hatch achieves what most historical writers fail at, engaging their readers while giving a full-untainted history.”—Latinos Post

“While not the first or likely the last book to chronicle the colorful lives of outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Hatch has potentially written the most authoritative. Drawing from an impressive number of sources, Hatch’s multidimensional study of two of the Wild West’s most famous criminals and their compatriots strives for accuracy without sacrificing entertainment value…An immersive and entertaining study.”—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
While not the first or likely the last book to chronicle the colorful lives of outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Hatch (Black Kettle) has potentially written the most authoritative. Drawing from an impressive number of sources, Hatch's multidimensional study of two of the Wild West's most famous criminals and their compatriots strives for accuracy without sacrificing entertainment value. He covers the duo's evolution from ranch hands to robbers with a reporter's eye and a novelist's sense of drama, recounting colorful anecdotes without letting the story get the best of him; each robbery, tryst, and outlaw with whom Butch and Sundance crossed paths is noted here, often with footnotes. Some escapades, like the story behind the infamous photo of the Wild Bunch, a boneheaded error that forced the group to abandon their criminal ways due to their newfound notoriety, have been told before, but Hatch's enthusiasm for the material and empathy for his subjects makes them seem new. Photos, maps, and a litany of sources that offer supplemental reading material should give armchair sheriffs plenty of material to work with in this immersive and entertaining study.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Hatch, author of popular histories of the American West (e.g., Black Kettle: The Cheyenne Chief Who Sought Peace but Found War), turns his attention to the Western outlaw trail in this double biography of Robert Leroy Parker (aka Butch Cassidy) and Harry Longabaugh (aka the Sundance Kid). He compares the outlaws from various perspectives including their childhoods, as members of the Wild Bunch in the Rocky Mountains, their reported deaths in South America, and later stories of their reappearance in America. Hatch reviews and comments on information from recent publications and archival records, with some of his text on the Longabaugh family history being closely based on Donna B. Ernst’s The Sundance Kid: The Life of Harry Alonzo Longabaugh. Hatch’s final chapter is his most original, as he critically questions the evidence that Cassidy and Sundance survived their South American adventures.

Verdict Hatch’s work brings the story of the two outlaws to a broad popular audience. However, historians should also note Mark T. Smokov’s He Rode with Butch and Sundance: The Story of Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan and Bill Betenson’s Butch Cassidy, My Uncle, both published last year.—Nathan Bender, Albany Cty. P.L., Laramie, WY

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
In this dual biography of celebrated bandits, a specialist in the Old West deftly separates fact from fiction. The nature of their business required Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Longabaugh to adopt many aliases, but they were best known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Raised in religious families, both men were well-read, both did a prison stretch for horse stealing, and both had a taste for the traditional cowboy pleasures of drinking, gambling and whoring. The handsome, quick-tempered, aloof Sundance was famous for his lightning draw. The gregarious, shrewd Butch was a natural-born leader, known for his meticulous execution of heists, paying special attention to the getaway plan. Together, from rough hideouts like Wyoming's Hole-in-the-Wall and Utah's Robbers' Roost, they bossed the notorious Wild Bunch, a loose confederation of ruffians and desperados that included the likes of "Kid Curry" and "News" Carver. Butch and Sundance made periodic attempts to go straight, but they always returned to their robbing ways, finally fleeing to Bolivia where the cavalry caught up with them in 1908. Though he supplies plenty of information, Hatch (Osceola and the Great Seminole War, 2012, etc.) earns huge credibility by frankly admitting that much remains unknown about these legendary outlaws, including the mysterious origins and disappearance of Sundance's beguiling paramour, Etta Place, and the precise circumstances of their deaths. He underscores his theme of Butch and Sundance as the last of a breed, reminding us that by the turn of the century, outlaws no longer faced capture merely by random individuals, but rather by an "organized system," whereby detective agencies, Pinkerton and Wells Fargo, armed with money and resources, could coordinate with all levels of law enforcement to hunt down criminals. An easygoing account of the outlaw duo whose era separated Frank and Jesse James from Bonnie and Clyde.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451416865
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/07/2014
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
585,332
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
The Last Outlaws…is eloquent of not only the Old West that we think of when we see a photograph of a butte or a mustang or a Colt revolver but also of the implacable forces of time and change that extinguished it.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Fans of Old West lore will find The Last Outlaws an absorbing and entertaining read.” —USA Today

The Last Outlaws is extremely well-written and feels more like a novel or work of fiction compared to a factual biography. It's a must read for any fan of the Old West and the outlaw life.” —The Desert News

“In this dual biography of celebrated bandits, a specialist in the Old West deftly separates fact from fiction.” —Kirkus Reviews

“While not the first or likely the last book to chronicle the colorful lives of outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Hatch has potentially written the most authoritative. Drawing from an impressive number of sources, Hatch's multidimensional study of two of the Wild West's most famous criminals and their compatriots strives for accuracy without sacrificing entertainment value…. [An] immersive and entertaining study.”—Publishers Weekly

“Mr. Hatch [is] an accomplished historian with a journalist’s eye and a novelist’s touch.” —The Washington Times

“Hatch achieves what most historical writers fail at, engaging their readers while giving a full-untainted history…. Writing about two of history's biggest outlaws is no small order. But Hatch does so beautifully, creating a vivid image of who these men truly were and what motivated them… Hatch is a skilled and veteran historical writer and his expertise shines through in his latest work.” —LatinosPost.com

 

Meet the Author

Thom Hatch is the author of numerous books on the history of the American West, including Black Kettle: The Cheyenne Chief Who Sought Peace but Found War, which was awarded the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award for Best Biography. A consultant and commentator for the History Channel and PBS, Hatch has published articles in the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, True West, and Western Horseman.

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The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My grandmother was a Gillis and came from Beaver, Utah, so I enjoyed the back ground information. Fun read.
tjohn33791 More than 1 year ago
A very comprehensive account of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked their legend then read this book.
TBAYFINN More than 1 year ago
very informative
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting reading. I love the historical facts, but greatly disappointed with all the speculation of what they 'probably' or 'likely' did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really entertaining read. Very captivating. The author did a brilliant job painting pictures with words.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While informative very dull. Almost didn't finish it.