Originally Published June 15, 2014
June 14th marked the opening of the Butch Cassidy exibit at The Wyoming Territorial Prison, just in time for Father’s day. The new exhibit includes a huge map, showing all the places historically associated with “The Wild Bunch”, photos of Robert Leroy Parker (aka Butch Cassidy)and Henry Longabaugh (aka the Sundance Kid),A brief story of Cassidy’s upbringing, life and career that led him to be part of the Wild Bunch. Included is a photo reproduction of Cassidy’s pardon, a exampe safe of the type that they blew up, the story of the Pinkertons, and on Cassidy and Sundance’s time in Argentina and Bolivia before their deaths.
One case includes a large number of products and media pieces on Cassidy and Sundance, including a hilarious ad created by the Bank of Leadville, and a copy of the book written by Cassidy’s brother about Cassidy’s life. The exhibit is topped off with a copy of the 1969 movie poster for Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
To celebrate the opening of the exhibit, the museum held a free day with all kinds of fun events for the visitors. The stagecoach was hitched up and rides were given, trick roping demonstrations and teaching kids how to rope a model calf, kids got to drive a John Deere tractor, and their height of the kids’ activities was when the children’s posse escorted a prisoner to a jail cell and got to lock him in. A costumed guard and prisoner played the parts very well, as evinced by the sheer amount of excited children’s voices echoing through the jail. The Paul Newman and Robert Redford Film, “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” was screened twice in the theater on the top floor of the exhibit building. Several food treats were available, including Bolivian tamales cooked in banana leaves. Of course, your reporter and family had to give them a try; all declared them “different” with a distinct taste.
The “prisoner” in the workshop was very knowlegable; excellent presentation on broom making, the history of broom making in the territorial prison, as well as the expansion of the shop when the prisoners, who had been held in other states, all returned to the Wyoming Territorial Prison with the advent of the law that you must do time in the state in which you were convicted.
The wind did play a slight bit of havoc for some of the displays and demonstrations; The Bolivian Traditional dancers had to be rescheduled for inside the Theater instead of on the outdoor stage, but the sheer number of clearly happy visitors made the day a success.
The new exhibit is a worth a look if you’ve been there before, and if you haven’t, do the whole tour!
You can now follow the Wyoming Territorial Prison Museum on facebook as well to keep up with upcoming events and presentations.