The mysterious Ethel (Etta) Place provided a feminine touch to the Wild Bunch. She was quite pretty, tall, slender, with auburn hair and green eyes. She was also a good horsewoman and shooter. Nobody seems to know for certain where she came from, what she was, or where she went. She might have been a schoolteacher or she might have been a prostitute at Fanny Porter’s bordello in Fort Worth.
Her real name is unknown. She called herself Ethel, although that may have been an alias. A Pinkerton detective had copied “Etta” erroneously off a hotel register and that’s how she was listed in their files. Their wanted posters referred to her as Etta and the name stuck. Sundance was using the alias Harry A. Place, the surname of his mother and, while Etta was living as his significant other, she took the name Place.
Sometime in 1906, Ethel might have been stricken with appendicitis and Sundance took her back to the United States. Leaving her at a hospital in Denver, he returned to South America alone. From that time on, Ethel becomes one of the West’s most famous missing persons. She remains one of the West’s great mysteries.