Thursday, August 23, 2007 08/23/07-Butch Cassidy

In today's encore excerpt, William Goldman, award-winning screenwriter for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and numerous other films, relates a story about Butch:

"There have only been two American outlaws who were outsized legends during their careers: Butch was one, Jesse James the second. But people liked Butch before he was famous. This next anecdote is true, and it killed me not to be able to find a place to use it [in the movie].

"When he was a young man, Butch was in jail in Wyoming. He came up before the governor with a chance at parole. The governor said, 'I'll set you free if you promise to go straight.' And Butch answered--he really did--'I can't do that.'

"The governor, naturally, was a bit taken aback, but before he could say much, Butch came up with the following offer: 'I'll make you a deal,' he told the governor. (This is a convict offering the governor a deal, remember.) 'I'll promise you that if you let me go, I'll never break the law in Wyoming again-- '

"--and the governor accepted the deal, set Butch free--

"--and Butch never again broke the law in Wyoming: If his gang did a job there, he refused to go along.

"You've just got to admire someone like that."

William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade, Warner Books, 1983, p. 193.


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