“Kid, the next time I say let’s go to someplace like Bolivia, let’s go to someplace like Bolivia”, Paul Newman to Robert Redford in the film Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. There starts a legend! The outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, better known as Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, came to southern Bolivia in August 1908 and started robbing banks there. But they soon learned of a far more interesting target: the payroll of a mine-company, 480.000 USD, was to be transported by mule from Tupiza to Quechisla, and poorly guarded at that!
On November 3rd, 1908, Carlos Pero picked up the cash in Tupiza from Aramayo, Francke & Compania and headed north with his son, a servant and a mule. On November 4th, while ascending the hill called Huaca Huanusca, the Quechua word for “Dead Cow”, they were attacked by Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid and robbed of the mule and the money, which actually turned out to be “only” 90.000 USD, the rest of the money being shipped one week later.
On November 6th, both outlaws reached San Vicente. But alarm had been given and a contingent of the army had already reached that village. In a gunfight, the Sundance Kid was severely wounded, making escape impossible. Butch Cassidy preferred to end both of their lives rather than surrender. Their corpses were identified by Carlos Pero. They were buried as “Desconocidos” or unknown.
So when being in Tupiza, I felt I had to follow the tracks of two of the most legendary outlaws, and at least go to Huaca Huanusca, 65 kilometers of Tupiza, since San Vicente has the reputation of being very disappointing… Well, you need a lot of imagination there to picture what happened! But at least the trip there is very scenic.
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