08/23/07 - butch cassidy

In today's encoreexcerpt - 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


Grand Central Publishing


Copyright 1983 by William Goldman


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