The newest installment in the PBS series, The Wild West, premieres tonight, February 11th, at 9pm (EST). Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, an American Experience series production, is a 1-hour documentary that examines the history and mythology associated with the two real-life Western outlaws.

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Butch Cassidy (real name Robert Leroy Parker) led the famous outlaw gang, The Wild Bunch, of which the Sundance Kid (real name Harry Longabaugh) was a part. Targeting Western trains, banks and mining companies at the close of the 19th century, Cassidy and Sundance faced the increasing technological and logistical reach of law enforcement in that era. In response, Cassidy and Sundance, along with Sundance’s girlfriend, Etta Place, left the American West to settle in South America in 1901. 

The current historical consensus is that Cassidy and Sundance met their end in a shoot-out with soldiers in San Vicente, Bolivia, on November 7th, 1908. However, a number of anecdotal stories claim that in the case of Cassidy, the outlaw did not die that day in South America and in fact returned to the United States. Thom Hatch, one of the experts interviewed for the PBS film, notes in his book, The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (2013), that the Pinkerton Detective Agency has never officially closed its files on the two outlaws.

In support of the new documentary, PBS has currently made the first chapter available online. Here is that first segment of the film:

For further information about the PBS film Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, please visit this official link BC & SK – PBS.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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