atm-logoWhat happened to Etta Place?

Kathy Craney
Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania

Etta (Ethel) Place, girlfriend of Harry A. Longabaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid, is a mystery woman.

We know from her photo she was a beautiful gal. Author Donna Ernst, whose husband is kin to the Sundance Kid, says she was called Ethel, but it’s unlikely Etta, Ethel or Place was her real name.

We don’t know where she came from, although some historians have theorized she was a Texas teacher or prostitute. We also don’t know how she hooked up with members of the Wild Bunch, famous for robbing American banks and trains.

By 1901, she was thick with Sundance Kid and his pal Butch Cassidy. The trio headed to South America, where they tried going straight, running a ranch. But when the law was closing in, they went back to the outlaw trail.

In 1906, she apparently returned from South America and landed in San Francisco, California. At that point, she disappeared. To this day, researchers continue to try to track her down.


Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian.
His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.

If you have a question, write:
Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008,
Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at


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