For those of you who have been to the ranch, you have almost certainly seen the Butch Cassidy Hideout, an old cabin in which Butch Cassidy and his crew stayed when they were running from the law. It is a small, well-hidden cabin a few miles from the ranch. It is Bayard’s favorite ride and for good reason– you wind along creeks, climb steep gorges, ride by dramatic rock formations, have some nice canters, and then you ultimately drop down into a secluded little glen to see the cabin. Tucked behind a hill with a little stream alongside, it is easy to imagine why the outlaws chose such a spot.
Mel and Bayard learned about the Butch Cassidy Hideout from John Finley, one of our neighbors on the East Fork Road whose family homesteaded our area over a century ago. John learned about the cabin from his grandfather, who used to bring Cassidy supplies when he was holed up in the hideout. It is a fascinating place with a lot of charm and rich history.
On our farm, where Richard and I live in the winter, there used to be an old stagecoach stop that was quite busy during Butch Cassidy’s era. Now little remains of the stop besides a small cemetery that has been surrounded by a chain-link fence to protect the graves. We had always heard that Cassidy had a hideout near our farm as well, which would have made sense, given the proximity of the stagecoach stop. This past summer, Jim Dewey, one of our farm employees finally found the old cabin that was rumored to be Cassidy’s. Excited to see the cabin, we invited John and Monie Finley out for the day, to have lunch with us and check out the spot.
Much like the hideout at the ranch, this cabin is very well-hidden. In fact, we were all doubting Jim as we headed through open terrain covered in greasewood. Where on earth could a cabin be hidden here?!?
Eventually, we dropped over a little hill, and there, built into the side of the hill, was the cabin. While small compared to our guest cabins, it is much bigger than the hideout at the ranch. While you can only crawl into the hideout at the ranch, you can easily walk into this cabin:
In addition to two doors (we pondered over the mystery of the two doors for quite some time! Why two doors? Any thoughts?), there is a large window:
Here you can look through one door and out the window on the other side:
From the perspective of the above picture, the second door is on the right-hand side of the cabin. Mel thought perhaps it was a get-a-way door, though I thought it was too close in proximity to the other door to serve that function. Someone else thought maybe they had been thinking of adding an extension, so they put in a second door at the beginning in preparation for the extension that was never added. One thing is certain and that is that someone worked hard on that cabin. All the interior logs have been leveled by hand with an axe. It is amazing that so much of it is standing after all this time.
I thought the most exciting part of our excursion to the cabin was discovering the many etchings knifed into the door-boards. There were all sorts of different brands marked into the wood, a crude portrait of a man with a prominent nose and various geometric shapes. We enjoyed attempting to decipher the brands and drawings. It was special to hold the fallen boards in my hands and know that men had passed the time carving them over a century ago.
We had beautiful weather, and the wind stayed quiet for us while we explored. The soil near the cabin was soft and sandy, so by the end of our adventuring, Whistle and Penny had dug a veritable pit in which to rest. They were a cute pair in their pit!