Robert Redford, actor, director, director and Westerner, is currently in production on a new documentary series about the historic American West. Entitled The West, the series will debut in 2014 on The Discovery Channel.

The series, created by Redford’s Sundance Productions, will examine the time period from the close of the US Civil War in 1865 to the early years of the 20th century. The West will feature the stories of the outlaw Jesse James, Oglala Lakota leader Crazy Horse, Wyatt Earp of OK Corral fame, and Wild West show impresario Buffalo Bill.

Redford has maintained a presence in the American West throughout his adult life. He first built a home in Utah in the early 1960s and in 1978 established the now-acclaimed Sundance Film Festival in that state. The festival’s name is drawn from Redford’s role as The Sundance Kid in the hit 1969 Western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which starred Paul Newman as Cassidy.

Redford (l) & Newman (r) – Still from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

In 1975, Redford and a small party on horseback travelled along the historic “Outlaw Trail”, a route used by Western outlaws that stretches from the border of Canada to Mexico. The Outlaw Trail provided hide-outs and relay-stations with fresh horses for bandits on the run such as Butch Cassidy (real name Robert Leroy Parker). Redford and his group rode sections of the trail that crossed Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, visiting along the way with ranchers living in that region.

Redford’s written reflections and photographs of the ride were published as an article in National Geographic in 1976 and expanded into the book, The Outlaw Trail: A Journey Through Time, published in 1978. That book closed with a photograph of Redford sitting with Butch Cassidy’s then-94 year-old sister, Lula Parker Betenson, on the land where their family had lived in Utah.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)


  1. I am trying to find a historian that is an expert in the Sundance Kid. I have acquired a large picture that my father received from an old ambassador to Bolivia’s estate. Has been in my family for many years.It was always said to be the Sundance Kid.

    1. To add to my suggestions below, Niki….I wanted to include Donna Ernst, who is a relative by marriage to the Longabaugh (Sundance Kid) family. She wrote The Sundance Kid: The Life of Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (2010), which was published by the University of Oklahoma Press.


      1. Hi Niki….thanks very much for the visit and comment….that is quite an exciting prospect! There are several writers/historians who may be able to confirm the validity of that photo….Thom Hatch just had The Last Outlaws published in 2013 (New American Library/Penguin) and the writer team of Daniel Buck and Anne Meadows have been researching/writing about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for a number of years. They have a WordPress site at and their book, Digging up Butch and Sundance (2003) was published by Bison Books.

        Feel free to drop me an email at if you would like some further help making contact with the above writers.

        Thanks again for the visit!

      2. Thanks so much. I have heard of these authors but have been unable to find any contact info for them.

      3. Hi again Niki…if it is helpful, I will do some research and send any relevant contact info I find to your email. Will try to send something later today.


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