GREEN RIVER — Author and biographer Bill Betenson paid a visit to the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River this week.
Betenson is the great-nephew of Robert Leroy Parker – better known as Butch Cassidy, the legendary western outlaw. Betenson has spent decades researching his famous relative and his first book about him, Butch Cassidy, My Uncle was published in 2012.
Betenson’s latest work, Butch Cassidy: The Wyoming Years, was released last year by High Plains Press. It chronicles Cassidy’s life with special emphasis on his time in Wyoming.
Between 1890 and 1901, when, along with Harry Longabaugh (the Sundance Kid) and Etta Place, Cassidy fled the country for South America, he rustled livestock, served a hitch at the Territorial Prison in Laramie, owned a ranch near Dubois, and robbed banks and trains.
During two of his gang’s Wyoming train robberies – one near Wilcox in Albany County in 1899, the other not far from Tipton, in Sweetwater County, in 1900 – blasted open the express cars with explosives, as depicted in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
Butch Cassidy: The Wyoming Years is profusely illustrated and solidly footnoted throughout. In its review, the Deseret News said “Betenson refutes a number of other versions of the Cassidy story, sorting fact from fiction in an absorbing, readable book.”
Autographed copies are available at the museum, located at 3 E. Flaming Gorge Way in Green River. Museum hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.