Long before Paul Newman and Robert Redford immortalized them on screen*Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid captivated Americans from coast to coast. In the 1890s*their exploits robbing banks and trains in the West – and then seemingly vanishing into thin air – became national news and the basis of rumors and myth. But who were Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh? How did they come together to form the Wild Bunch gang? And how did they manage to pull off the longest string of successful holdups in history while eluding the Pinkertons*the nation’s most feared detective force?


“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is a PBS Documentary that intrigues me. I love it when people try to find out how criminals were able to get away with crimes for so long. But, what happens when they target larger than life characters that played into the greater American mythos? So much of modern culture is dedicated to destroying any sense of wonder of the frontier. Is it wrong to do so?

The Old West is a myth that needs to be busted. While the documentary spends a lot of time examining how the gang evaded the Pinkertons, nothing was done to show the mechanics of how such things were pulled off. If we could learn how Ted Bundy escaped from custody in the 1970s, who is to say that we couldn’t learn about Western material that has been covered by historical scholars? The level of intellectual drop-off is astounding on these matters.

The DVD comes with no special features. The A/V Quality is on par with most PBS documentary releases. Still, there’s something about the presentation that I can’t put a finger on. It almost looked like it was an HD source that was purposefully downgraded. Oh well, it’s still worth a purchase.

RELEASE DATE: 04/01/2014


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