Patagonia was shelter for one of the most famous bank and train robbers in America. The legendary Sindicato de Ladrones de Trenes gang or better known as Wild Bunch was lead by Butch Cassidy.
On your trip you will have the opportunity to stop by some of those places where the bandits used to go, such as La Leona between el Calafate and el Chaltén, ideal to have some coffee; Touring, bar and hotel in Trelew, perfect location at that time since it was close to a bank; and also some other places not far from Cholila.
Butch Cassidy was born April 13th, 1866 in Beaver, Utah. His real name was Robert LeRoy Parker. As a teenager, he left his home and while he worked in a ranch he became friend with Mike Cassidy, a horse and cattle thief. From that moment on, he worked for different ranches and in a butcher’s for a short while. The latter gave him the nickname Butch, and later on he added Cassidy as his new surname in honour of his friend and mentor.
Between 1901 and 1905, in order to escape from the US authorities, Butch and his gand – one of the most wanted - took possession of 5,000 hectares of virgin land in Cholila, at about 80 km. North of Trevelin in Chubut province. Ironic as it sounds, before buying the land cassidy asked: “Are there bandits around?” It can be affirmed that he was aware of what they were capable of. Far from the US police or the Pikerton detectives, the fugitives lived as honorable farmers working their land. Wasn't Patagonia, huge and badly controlled as it was, the perfect place for these Americans to hide?
On February 14, 1905, two English-speaking bandits, who may have been Parker and Longabaugh, held up the Banco de Tarapacá y Argentino in Río Gallegos, 1,130 km South of Cholila. They escaped to the North and Patagonia steppe with a sum worth US $100,000. Since they were being chased, the gang sold the house in Cholila.
Butch and two accomplices left north to San Carlos de Bariloche where they went on board the Cóndor, a ship sailing Nahuel Huapi lake, to Chile. However, by the end of that year, more precisely on December 19th, Parker, Longabaugh, Place and an unknown man came back to Argentina and took part in the robbery of the Banco de la Nación in Villa Mercedes, 650 km West of Buenos Aires, taking 12,000 pesos. Pursued by armed lawmen, they crossed the Pampas and the Andes and again reached the safety of Chile.
The most agreed conclusion as regards Butch’s death is that as he was being chased he ran away to Bolivia and worked in the mines using a different name and it would be here where he spent his last days...
Patagonia in all seasons menu. For example, according to the climate, from Bariloche, in Patagonia Argentina, it is possible to go to Puerto Montt, in Chile, crossing successively three lakes by boat, as did the Jesuits and the first German settlers. I offer a tour that leads to the Pacific Ocean. It is quite long, but the beauty of the sites - forests, volcanoes and crystalline lakes - is such that it is worth to be carried. The Argentine side, cross the west arm of Nahuel Huapi and Lake Puerto Alegre and, the chilen side, Lake Todos los Santos. Moving from one lake to another by bus. This tour is feasible in all seasons, but in winter, it takes two days to reach Puerto Montt, stopping for one night at Peulla. We returned to Bariloche by air or by the same way, after a night in Puerto Montt. Borispatagonia is also responsible for visas to go to Chile and to book hotels. In Patagonia, winter and summer are tourist seasons. In summer, besides explore the surrounding, many activities are available: climbing, torrent fishing, sailing, horseback riding, hiking, rides, visits to Aciendas... In winter, the main activity is, of course, skiing, especially in July and August on the side of the Andes, but not only: snowshoe hikes, thematic tours, many walks to admire the beauty of Patagonia Argentina and Chile in this season, due a unique light, the warmth of the people of Patagonia... Just to talk about, I get goose bumps!