#Lookback: Butch Cassidy & Al Hainer

A County 10 series in partnership with the Fremont County Museum System
where we take a #Lookback at the stories and history of our community and
presented by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

This photo, taken around 1889, supposedly shows Butch Cassidy and Al Hainer (both to the left of the doorway). Butch arrived in Fremont County, Wyoming, in 1889 and it was here that he met and formed a partnership with, a cowboy by the name of Al Hainer. Little is known of Hainer, and some believe that he may have been a fellow Mormon from Utah and that his name may have even been an alias.

Hainer and Butch likely settled on Horse Creek, north of Dubois. It is believed that they may have been working for the Embar Cattle Ranch, which was originally in that location. The pair stayed with Hughie Yeomans, one of Dubois’ first settlers, in the fall of 1889 and may have even helped Yeomans construct his cabin.

Cassidy and Hainer may have also worked on the EA Ranch. The EA Ranch was originally located east of Dubois, at the confluence of the Wind River and Jakey’s Fork. For a brief period, the foreman of the EA Ranch was John Simpson, and his wife, Margaret, or Maggie, did the cooking and washing for the ranch’s cowboys. The Simpson family befriended Cassidy and some even say Cassidy and Hainer spent Christmas of 1889 with the Simpson family at their cabin.

As a result of the Telluride, Colorado bank robbery, Cassidy was rumored to have quite a bit of money. It comes as no surprise then that one of Cassidy’s other friends in the Dubois area was Lander banker Eugene Amoretti Sr. and, according to Amoretti’s son, Cassidy reportedly deposited large sums of money in his Lander bank. It is also worth noting that Amoretti never had one of his banks robbed during Butch’s outlaw days.

Sometime in 1890 Butch and Hainer reportedly left Dubois for Johnson County, Wyoming. Although their stay was brief, stories of the outlaws’ time in town are numerous. A few of them are:

According to Mary Allison’s A Dubois Area History, Eugene Amoretti purchased property from Butch Cassidy and Al Hainer along Horse Creek in 1900. So far, no evidence of this transaction can be found. However, it was rumored that Cassidy would often pay off the mortgages of ranchers to make them allies. Is it possible that the supposed land transaction was really the two outlaws paying Amoretti’s mortgage as a way of winning his loyalty?

According to the Simpson family, Cassidy rode 120 miles round trip to the doctor at Fort Washakie during a blizzard in the winter of 1889 for medicine for their youngest child who was sick with influenza. However, some researchers have claimed the Simpson family did not yet have a child in 1889, let alone one who was sick from an influenza outbreak. Did Cassidy really make this heroic ride or was it someone else?

Andrew Manseau, an early homesteader in Dubois, claimed, “Butch Cassidy and Al Hainer spent one winter on a place above me. They had some racehorses and bought blue joint hay from me. I charged them big prices.” He also claimed that Buch spent a lot of time at the Meek’s Ranch “down the river” and that “Bub” Meeks eventually joined him, riding with him during bank robberies. Is it possible that Dubois had more than one outlaw in town?

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

May 5th, 6 pm at the Riverton Museum “Historic Preservation Efforts in Riverton”

              Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

May 13th, 7 pm at the Pioneer Museum “Wyoming Outlaws” By Ray Maple

              Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

May 14th-28th, 9-5 Daily at the Pioneer Museum “Abraham: Out of One, Many” Art Exhibit in the Western Gallery

May 14th, 10 am at the Pioneer Museum “Downtown Lander Historic Walking Tour”

              Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

May 18th, 9-2 pm at the Dubois Museum “Mason Draw Adventure Trek”

              Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

Joe Scheuerle Art Exhibit: “Native Americans of Wind River Country”, 9-5 Monday-Saturday

              Pioneer Museum Lander Handle with Care: Art Moving

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum are seeing significantly decreased visitation this summer as a result of Covid-19. As a result, the self-generated revenue we rely so heavily on to make ends meet is not keeping pace. We are counting on private donations to continue to maintain successful and engaging museums during this time. We urge you to make a tax-deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support. 

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