George Newbery (his son, Jorge Newbery was the Argentine aviation
pioneer) in his dentist consulting room located in the heart of
The new immigrants gathered substantial information about the Patagonian
south and the Andes zone, where the Newberys owned land near the
Nahuel Huapi Lake.
Finally, after visiting the best cities in South America, they decided
to settle in Cholila, near the Chilean border. For a moment it seemed
that Butch and Sundance then known as James Ryan and Harry
Place and Ethel, Sundances sociable and attractive
liaison, had decided to make good use of their cattle breeding,
horse training and agricultural knowledge to straighten their lives.
Ethel, who spoke Spanish, acted as a good source of communication
between them and their new neighbors.
Shortly after their arrival, they establish discreet but cordial
relationships with the neighbors, who liked these courteous and
respectful strangers. The neighbors particularly enjoyed Butch,
who seemed to be the life of any party. Even Chubuts governor,
Mr. Julio Lezana, happened to be their guest and danced a samba
with Ethel. He was convinced she was a beautiful and charming plantation
high society "southern belle".
In a letter to a member of the gang left behind in the United States,
Butch Cassidy said "... I liked this part of the world so much
I think Ive settled down for good. I own 300 heads of cattle,
1500 heads of sheep and 28 riding horses. I have 2 helpers, a nice
four room house, barns, a stable and a henhouse... the only thing
I need is a cook, since I am still unpleasantly single and many
times feel lonely..."
It seemed that the vast
Patagonia had seduced him, finally humanized his outlaw soul after
four years of peaceful existence. But Sundance did not adjust well
to that kind of living and was eager to do without it, doubtlessly
influenced by Ethel.
He awakened Butch to
the adventures they had had in the past, restoring his need to walk
down that road once again.
On February 14th, 1905, at 3 p.m., they walked into the Bank of
London of Río Gallegos. They were cordially greeted by the
Manager and the cashier the only two people in the room at
the time who seem fully surprised when they see Butch and
Sundance draw their Colts. Having their lives threatened, they are
forced to open the safe. Both, Butch and Sundance, had carefully
planned the holdup. A few days before they had opened an account
and made a sizable deposit, securing the bankers trust. The
townspeople had named them "weird" gringos, since they
frequented the "El Progreso" Club, apparently in the guise
of businessmen in search of new lands. They inquired about prices
and places to invest. They even went in and out of town galloping
at full speed, what was considered a charming gringo "habit"
by the neighbors.
It is in this way that they empty the banks safe and speed
off in their horses without raising the slightest doubt in the people
walking about town. Although the town is absolutely astonished by
the events, the people organize a party to give chase knowing it
would be dangerous and time consuming. Meanwhile, Ethel had been
waiting for them with fresh horses, giving the outlaws a head start
that would be impossible to shorten.
To further their astonishment, the townspeople learn, through the
Buenos Aires Federal Police, the true identity of the criminals.
Pinkerton Agency had assigned detective