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In Search of Butch Cassidy Paperback – November 15, 1977

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Larry Pointer is an Information specialist/Agronomist in the Branch of Environmental Assessment, Montana State Office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. He has long been interested in Western history and rodeo history, and is the author of many articles, particularly on Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. He currently is at work on a biography of Harvey Logan (Kid Curry), and on a Volume on rodeo history.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (November 15, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806121432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806121437
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,591,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jerald R Lovell on July 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Robert Leroy Parker, a/k/a Butch Cassidy, the last famous outlaw of the Old West, vanished in Bolivia, according to many. This riveting book of real Western history shows otherwise.
In a work evidencing considerable personal research and scholarship, Larry Pointer shows, beyond all but the most skeptical doubt, that Butch was not killed in Bolivia, unlike the Sundance Kid, Harry Longbaugh, but that Butch returned to the United States after having some reconstructive surgery, married, and then took an alias, Harry T. Phillips, and lived a somewhat respectable life until dying of cancer in Spokane in 1937.
The book is replete with anecdotes by witnesses, photographs, quotes from a manuscript started by Harry T. Phillips, and other physical evidence to show that Harry was, in fact, Butch Cassidy, and that his actions, especially in later life would not have occured unless he was Butch Cassidy.
The book is well written, well organized, nostalgic, and poignant. It paints a picture of a man out of time who assumed a different, if frustrating, life. It starts a bit slowly, but once it takes root in your consciousmess, cannot be put down until its too-soon finish. I prize the book, and rate it highly. I believe any student of the Old West will do likewise.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Marvin D. Pipher on October 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I approached this book with a great deal of skepticism suspecting that it was probably another hoax and that William T. Phillips would most likely turn out to be just another J. Frank Dalton. But Phillips' story is a little different. After all, he never claimed to be Butch Cassidy, others simply claimed it for him and then only after he was dead and gone. So I was pleasantly surprised.

Not only did the author present some rather convincing evidence that Phillips was indeed Robert LeRoy Parker, alias George "Butch" Cassidy, but the book also turned out to be the most informative book which I have read on the inner workings of a true western outlaw gang. If one is not convinced that Phillips was Cassidy, one must surely conclude that he was at least a member of Cassidy's "Wild Bunch."

The most compelling evidence, in my view, is the following: 1) the opal ring which Phillips sent to Butch Cassidy's Wyoming sweetheart, Mary Boyd, shortly before his death (inscribed on the inside "Geo C to Mary B"); 2) Phillips' Colt Peacemaker with Butch Cassidy's brand carved in the handle, 3) the affirmative handwriting analysis comparing a letter known to have been written by Butch Cassidy with a later letter written by Phillips; and finally 4) Phillips' intimate knowledge of Butch Cassidy, his associates and the people he knew or worked with, the areas in which he lived and rode, and the robberies which he planned and carried out; all as expressed in his unpublished [autobiography?] "The Bandit Invincible, the Story of Butch Cassidy."

The most interesting thing to me about this book, however, is not whether or not William Phillips was, in fact, Butch Cassidy, it was the detailed descriptions of how Cassidy would plan and carry out his raids.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Great book, well documented, this is the most believable of the books & articles I have read on Butch Cassidy. The author spent a lot of time in the areas where Butch alias William T. Phillips resided, I didn't find any errors that would make the rest of the book dubious for me. This book gave me a desire to spend some of my time continueing to search to find evidence that Phillips, truely was the outlaw Butch Cassidy. This well documented volume, proves to me that "Truth is always stranger than fiction."
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
If a romantic and treasured perception of Western banditry stems from having seen the 1969 film BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, perhaps you'd better not read IN SEARCH OF BUTCH CASSIDY, first published in 1977.
Author Larry Pointer's working hypothesis is that Butch Cassidy didn't die in 1908 amidst a hail of Bolivian gunfire. Rather, he returned to the United States and lived in Spokane, WA, as William T. Phillips before dying of cancer in 1937. Pointer spent 5 years building the case, and his arguments are compelling. Indeed, the basis around which the author constructs this story of Cassidy's life is William's unsold manuscript "The Bandit Invincible", an unsuccessful commercial attempt by Phillips to capitalize on his adventures. Pointer quotes lengthy passages from the document, and used it as the starting point for his own research of events after determining to his satisfaction, through handwriting analysis and eyewitness testimony, that Cassidy and Phillips were indeed the same person - a process completed by the end of chapter 3.
IN SEARCH OF BUTCH CASSIDY is a competently told, if somewhat dry, biographical narrative by a writer obsessed with his subject. The amount of detail provided is a tribute to Pointer's investigatory labors. Though not really the author's fault, the near-confusion surrounding the names of places and individuals almost compelled me to make out a score card for reference. In his manuscript, Phillips admits to changing some names of people and places. This, plus the outlaws' penchant for using aliases and inaccurate reporting by contemporary newspapers, makes the going occasionally tricky despite Pointer's best effort to keep identities straight.
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