Butch Who?

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41o6B1MusML._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_In 1969 the movie titled Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid became my all time favorite western bank-robber, train-robber, love story. Starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Katherine Ross the film portrayed the adventures of the Hole In the Wall Gang. The characters were so lovable I cheered for them to get away from the posse who chased after them. As a very young man I thought Katherine Ross was the hottest thing on planet earth, that is after my beloved wife Barbara. Based on a true story the movie became a wildly popular film because of Paul Newman, and Robert Redford who played such lovable bad-guys. The theme song for the film came from Burt Bacharach who composed “Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head,” a song that still plays in my mind. This week on my library visit I spotted a book titled Butch Cassidy: The Lost Years. In true see it, like it, take it fashion, I checked it out.

This story begins in 1950 when a man named Porter enters a general store in a small Texas town searching for a man named Jim Strickland.  Four men play cards when the scene opens, and Porter enters asking if any of the four know a man named Jim Strickland. One of the four, a very old cowboy, responds by asking Porter to step outside with him so they can speak privately.

They sit on the front porch of the general store drinking Coca Cola when the cowboy begins to tell a story about Jim Strickland. From there the book becomes a can’t put it down read. The old cowboy spins a yarn about Jim Strickland implying that he may really be Butch Cassidy. At the end of the movie Butch Cassidy, and the Sundance Kid get into a shoot out with the Bolivian army. The director left us wondering how these two could have survived the odds. He made the viewers believe the army killed them. This book reveals that Butch survived, escaped,  and went into hiding. Butch spent several years in several countries before finally returning to the United States to lead a life of obscurity.

This story was a fun read, and author William W. Johnstone created some cool characters in creating a hypothetical new life for Butch Cassidy.

2 Responses

  1. Joe, have you ever read “The Monkey Wrench Gang” by Edward Abbey? Based on your description of “Butch Cassidy: The Lost Years,” I think you’d also love this book. And then, if you like it, I highly recommend ANYTHING else by Abbey. Please let me know…I love exchanging views with fellow Edward Abbey fans.

    P.S. Full disclosure: Some of Abbey’s books became cult hits for radical environmentalists and 60s hippies, but you know me well enough to know I’m not one of “them.” I just enjoy Abbey’s humor and descriptive writing style (he was known as an irreverent 20th-century Henry David Thoreau of the desert southwest), and I respect his love of the Four Corners area…so I overlook the political undertones. (Similar to my attitude towards James Cameron’s movie Avatar, which had definite leftist political undertones but was nevertheless a spectacular visual delight to watch in 3D.)

    – Jeff

    • I have not read The Monkey Wrench Gang, but will add it to my list. I am currently reading Summer of Revolution about the war to win independence from Britain. Next in line is a Oliver North book. Thanks for the recommendation. SOme of my best reads have come to me from fellow bloggers.

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