Etta Place

Posted by John Brand on

"They're beginning to get on my nerves. Who are those guys?"...A quote from Butch Cassidy played by Paul Newman in the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. 

This is a classic quote from a movie about two "infamous" outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker (Butch Cassidy) and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (Sundance Kid). Both were well known members of the gang "The Wild Bunch". But what of the young women we see with Butch Cassidy and Sundance? Who was she?
Her name was Etta Place or maybe it was really Ethel, Eva, Rita or Ethel Bishop. There have been many theories on the true identity of Etta Place. Some say she was Ethel Bishop a young music teacher who lived in San Antonio, Texas. Another theory suggests that she was really a cattle rustler named Ann Bassett. Whatever her true identity, Etta was always described as having classic good looks.

Those who met Etta claimed the first thing they noticed about her was her striking beauty. She had a nice smile, brown hair, and was always cordial and refined. They also claimed she was an excellent shot with a rifle. That may be why she was reportedly only one of 5 women to have ever been allowed into the Wild Bunch hideout at Robbers Roost in southern Utah.

Etta was the companion of the Wild Bunch gang for many years. It is not know exactly how she became a part of the gang. Some believe she met the gang in a brothel and started dating Parker, then became involved with Longabaugh later. Rumors said she married Longabaugh, before traveling with he and Parker on their "adventures" to New York City, Argentina, and Chile, but nothing was ever proven. She was spotted many times with both men throughout this time, but it was her disappearance that created the biggest sensation.

Little is really known about what really happened to Etta Place.  Some say she was tired of running from the law and left Longabaugh, and the gang, to head back to the United States to teach.  Others suggest she died either by her own hand or someone else's in Argentina. To this day, rumors and speculations still surround the disappearance of Etta Place. Many authors and historians have tried to solve the mystery but have failed.


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