Charles Leerhsen – Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw

  • by

July 13, 2020 – He’s the ultimate Civil War baby gone bad, born in 1866 with the modest handle of Robert Leroy Parker. So how did that dirt-poor son of a Mormon farmer grow up into a horse thief, rustler, and bank robber who ran with the Wild Bunch? Charles Leerhsen explores the origin story of a famous outlaw who never killed a soul in Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw.

If you’re familiar with sensationalized, thinly researched Hollywood depictions of Butch, you’ll find the real man even more entertaining and charming. Charles Leerhsen previously joined us to discuss one of my all-time favorite books Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty. In it, he redeems one of baseball’s all-time greats, stripping away the lies of the sensationalist sportswriter, Al Stump, who concocted tales of a brutal, belligerent racist.

Now, he aims the same careful eye to Butch, digging through legends and tall tales to paint a complete picture of an American original who just wanted to be liked — and to avoid the 19th Century version of the cubicle life.

You’ve Charles Leerhsen’s work everywhere from Sports Illustrated and Esquire to The New York Times Magazine and People. He has also been an editor at SI, Us Weekly, and Newsweek. Find him @CharlesLeerhsen on Twitter and at