Contributed by RL

(photo retrieved from https://bearlake.org/butch-cassidy/)

Never has an actual event from history, which happened on 13 August 1896, in Montpelier, Idaho (http://montpelier.id.gov/) been told and retold year after year since it happened. It is the tale of a bank robbery that since it occurred has ranked among one of the largest events in the history of this small Idaho town. (https://visitidaho.org/) The city of Montpelier had a pageant at one time and still does a reenactment of the robbery of the bank at the actual site in down town Montpelier.

For the bank was robbed by non-other than Butch Cassidy. (https://bearlake.org/butch-cassidy/)

The description of the robbery is given in detail by Pat Wilde in his book “Treasured Tidbits of Time” volume 1 ( https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4997733.Jens_Patrick_Wilde) and contains many other events that have transpired in the Bear Lake Valley over the years.

The Montpelier bank was the first chartered bank in the state of Idaho making it a temptation for Butch Cassidy and gang. They rode into town and waited till the bank looked empty to make their move so to speak. One of the men, Bob Meeks, stayed outside with the horses while the other two, Cassidy and Elza Lay went into the bank. They gathered up the employees and had them face the wall then Butch began to fill sacks, that they had brought, with the money from the bank. After taking the money and trying to find any extra money hidden they all questioned the bank workers and searched every nook and cranny. Cassidy determined they had found all the money they were going to, exited the bank. Leisurely Butch made his way over to the horses across the street. Mounting, he rode out of town in the unhurried way of a cowhand going back to the ranch.

That was the easy part of the robbery.

When Lay, waiting in the bank, watched Butch get on his horse, he got nervous and once Butch was out of sight he bolted from the bank straight to the horses. Both he and Bob Meeks to use the expression “high tailed it out of town” as fast as the horses could be spurred. With their departure the bank employee's also exited the bank yelling about the robbery.

First to respond was a deputy who was riding one of those newfangled bicycles who pursued the fleeing men a short distance out of town. He returned to gather up a horse and an attorney (I don't know what he was thinking, maybe he wanted to give the robbers legal counsel in case they did catch them) to continue the chase. A short time later they were joined by the sheriff and a few other good men who formed up as a posse to search out the bandits. They searched in vain for a week not finding the outlaws or the cash.

Bob Meeks was later caught for the crime and swore that he did not get a penny of the money. It was rumored but never confirmed, that the bank robbery was to raise bail money to get Matt Warner out of jail, another of the “Wild Bunch” gang. The other two, Cassidy and Lay, were never brought to trail. The only member of the robbers to be positively identified was Bob Meeks because he was not wearing a mask while watching the horses.

The odd thing of interest about the robbery was that it was done on the 13th day of the month, just after a deposit of $13.00 was made and it took place 13 minutes after the hour of 3 pm. Of course no one is superstitious, especially during the month of October.

The Wild Bunch were known to have many hide outs across the west. Two of the best known were Hole-in-the-Rock over in Wyoming (https://www.travelwyoming.com/) and Robbers Roost in Utah (https://utah.com/old-west/robbers-roost) Most of the hide outs were ideal for long term stays. The cabins had acquitted water near by, always a grazing area for both horse and cattle and it is even said that chickens were also maintained at the sites. Plus it was almost impossible for anyone to get into the hide out area without being seen and of course it was easily defensible if need be. The hide outs were so well hidden in the canyons that even when knowing the general area, law officers still could not find them in the mid-rid of canyons, or wanted to find them. Yes they almost had everything they needed in their cabins, if Rainy Day Foods (https://rainydayfoods.com/) had been around at that time to help them with those hard to store items they could have had all of their needs meet. Butch and the crew could have probably gotten by without the chickens if they had a gallon can of the Ova Easy egg crystals that they could have whipped up into an omelet. Of course some butter powder and powdered milk would keep them from having to milk those cows.

It wasn't all work and worry of course at the hide-out. The Wild Bunch, like most others of the day, liked to spend some of their time engaged in sporting events like gambling, having shooting contests and even having some friendly roping contests using those cows of questionable ownership. Of course this was all being done while a Beef Brisket was slowly cooking with its aroma filling the air to enjoy after a hard day of friendly competition. So after a great dinner they had to have a desert like Apple Crisp to round the evening off. There are a variety of ways to make this but a general rule is you can use 3 cups of Freeze Dried Apples, ½ cup white sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, mix it all up, then put a topping of ½ cup flour with ¾ cup sugar and 4 tbsp of powdered butter mixed on top (mix the topping together first). This should take about ½ hour to cook or until the topping is brown.

I don't believe a life of crime pays off; it sure didn't for Butch Cassidy who's end came in a shoot out in South America. So I guess I will just continue with the day job and have some of that Apple Crisp at the end of the day. 'Till next time RL