Legends of Helper- Part 2: Butch Cassidy Strikes Again...
Updated: Jun 12, 2019
Many a story has been told concerning this notorious American Outlaw. Born as Robert LeRoy Parker, he lived his legacy under the alias of Butch Cassidy—the Robin Hood of the West. Butch Cassidy and his gang of outlaws (aka the “Wild Bunch”) lived secluded in the desolate desert of Southeastern Utah. The slot canyons and isolation around Robbers Roost allowed them live without fear of being discovered by the law. The gang was credited for dozens of robberies and crimes—one of which occurred a mere 3 miles from current day Helper.
Castle Gate, located just north of Helper, before it’s demise in the 1970’s, was just beginning to prove themselves as an abundant coal community. It was the morning of April 21, 1897. Three men from the Pleasant Valley Coal Company waited at the train station in anticipation for the payroll money coming in on a train from Salt Lake. As the men waited, unbeknownst to them, another group of men were waiting to ambush. Upon the arrival of the train and the exchange of the bags of money, the men from the Pleasant Valley Coal Company were attacked (in broad daylight, mind you) by Butch Cassidy, Elsa Lay, and Bob Meeks. The outlaws snatched the bags of money (amounting to nearly $8000) and took off towards Robbers Roost.
As authorities raced to telegraph nearby communities to be on the lookout for the thieves, it was discovered that the telegraph lines had been severed by the outlaws. By the time word got out concerning the robbery, Butch Cassidy and his band of outlaws were unreachable.
Though Castle Gate has been dismantled since that fateful day, there is still a roadside plaque marking the location of the robbery.