Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Sundance Kid in Calgary?

          Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (1867 – c. November 6, 1908), better known as The Sundance Kid, was an outlaw and member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang.  He likely met Butch Cassidy (real name Robert Leroy Parker) after Parker was released from prison around 1896.  Together with the other members of "The Wild Bunch" gang, they performed the longest string of successful train and bank robberies in American history.  Longabaugh was born in Pennsylvania, in 1867.  Twenty years later, in 1887, he stole a gun, horse, and saddle from a ranch in Sundance, Wyoming.  While attempting to flee he was captured by authorities and sentenced to 18 months in jail.  During his incarceration he adopted the nickname of the Sundance Kid.  After his release, he went back to working as a ranch hand and, in 1890, he worked at the Bar U Ranch 50 miles southwest of Calgary, Alberta (one of the largest ranches of that era), where he was employed to break horses and was considered to be very good at the job.  (1891 Calgary Police records show that Harry Longabaugh was charged with cruelty to animals by a rival in the Blackie area.)  After the Bar U, Longabaugh went into the tavern business in Calgary for a short time with Frank Hamilton as a partner, opening a saloon in the Grand Central Hotel.  Frank had a reputation as a bully.  In business he often intimidated his partners - or rivals - to get his way.  It's said that he tried that with Harry - and promptly had a six-shooter shoved in his ribs, followed by a few choice words.  Sundance grew tired of Hamilton, and sold his part of the business a short time later.  He headed back south to Wyoming and became part of Butch Cassidy's gang, often hiding out at the Hole In The Wall near Kaycee, Wyoming. Oddly enough just a year or so after Sundance left Calgary the Grand Central Hotel, and its Saloon, suspiciously burned to the ground.  He is thought to have died in a shootout in Bolivia after robbing a mule train of funds destined to pay miners.

TODAY'S GOOD NEWS:  Canadian winters get rid of some of the riffraff anyway!