What can you tell me about William T. Phillips, who claimed to be Butch Cassidy in the early 1920s?

What can you tell me about William T. Phillips, who claimed to be Butch Cassidy in the early 1920s?

Jim Freed

Dennison, Ohio

Butch Cassidy expert Dan Buck says, “The major book on William T. Phillips is, of course, Larry Pointer’s In Search of Butch Cassidy. That’s the book that tattooed Phillips onto Butch’s behind, so to speak.

“Phillips’ own narrative, The Bandit Invincible, has more than a few problems. He claims Parker wasn’t Butch’s real name. He has Butch and Sundance’s ranch in the wrong part of Argentina. He says he held up trains in Bolivia that weren’t built yet when Butch was down there. The November 1908 shoot-out in Bolivia he claims he escaped from before getting married in Michigan occurred several months after his May 1908 marriage in Michigan.”

For history on the real Butch, Buck recommends Richard Patterson’s Butch Cassidy: A Biography and Anne Meadows’ Digging Up Butch and Sundance, which debunk the Phillips myth in greater detail.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.