March 30, 2011

The Wild Pair

Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid
Remember the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
One of their hideout spots was down in the Canyonlands area of Utah in a place called Robber's Roost.  I posted about the Roost here.

The Wild Bunch at Robbers RoostSteve has been reading The Wild Bunch at Robber's Roost by Pearl Baker, who managed a ranch headquartered at the Roost in the '30's.   One interesting story in the book took place near Twin Springs and North Spring.  After a little map study, Steve drew out a loop route. On our visit to Canyonlands this past week (yes, that's where we've been!)  we rode past both springs. 

Above is a photo of Twin Springs. Water flows from both caverns.
As the story goes, a cowboy was staying in a line cabin near Twin Springs in the early 1920's.  (Butch and the Wild Bunch pulled off most of their robberies between 1889 and 1901.  Butch and Sundance supposedly died in Bolivia in 1908, but there is a lot of speculation that both survived and returned to Utah in later years.)  One evening, a stranger who appeared to be "a little on the rustle," as they said in those days, stopped by Twin Springs to water his horse and pack mule.  He seemed surprised to find the line cabin and the cowboy.  Since it was late in the day, he accepted the cowboy's hospitality for the night, but he acted nervous, especially when the cowboy happened to get near his pack. 
The next day, the stranger rode off toward North Spring, shown above.  The cowboy, his suspicions raised, followed the stranger's trail at a discreet distance and found tracks indicating that the stranger had climbed up to a cave located downstream from North Spring.  With the stranger long gone, the cowboy entered the cave to see what the stranger had been up to.  Inside, the cowboy found a newly dug hole and an empty lock box. 
Could the stranger have been one of the Wild Bunch returning for his ill-gotten gains, some 20 years after the last robbery?  That's the speculation. 
Could there still be hidden gold in them thar canyons?  Probably not, but it's rough, wild country, so anything's possible.  We found the cave pictured above while riding from Twin Springs to North Spring.  This cave didn't fit the description given in the old cowboy's tale, but it looked interesting.
We explored a bit but didn't find any old lock boxes.
The view was nice,
and Steve found this small skull that may have belonged to a fox.
No gold, though, more's the pity.
We also looked for the Twin Spring cabin but found no trace other than this old gate.  No fence, just the gate.
Near North Spring, we ran across, almost literally, this rusted piece of metal.  A couple of moonshiners were supposed to have operated out of canyon country.
Could this modified barrel be part of  a whiskey still?  I can't think what else it would have been used for.  Any guesses?


  1. What a fascinating story! The country looks so interesting - it's a pity you didn't find any hidden treasure;-)
    The twin caves are wonderful, slowly eroding into larger caves century by century, I suppose.

  2. I love your the movie....very interesting facts...

  3. You've been on a journey through time, geology and history. The magic of this landscape calls to me. It's a treasure hunt for you two, and thus us. After a week gone, I know you'll have more to share. I So miss the red rocks. Thanks.

  4. All sorts of mysterious finds, caves, an old gate, and an odd piece of metal with a longitudinal weld, some strange holes, and nozzles. Hmmm

  5. It sounds and looks as though you have a treasure of your own! What an experience you are living out. I can't imagine getting to see all that! So thank you for sharing. How interesting to go back and live in the past:)

  6. Oh my gosh...such a cool visit. You are part of history now.
    Those views are gorgeous!

  7. what a fun (and beautiful!) historic adventure! thanks for the ride.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  8. Wonderful photos and history. Thanks for sharing Janie.

  9. Great photos, Janie! Glad I could wait outside with the horses while you and Steve explored the cave. I love the gate photo - so incongruous in that red rock landscape.

  10. colorful characters, colorful history and colorful country :)

  11. What an amazing place.. I enjoyed seeing this wonderful area.. thanks for the journey, Janie!


  12. Hmmm. Sounds like there has been a lot of history in those caves and canyons. I bet there IS gold somewhere but it would likely be a BIG waste of time to try to find it!



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