Last Word on the Famous Wild Bunch Photo

One of the most famous historical photographs in Texas history. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid along with other members of “The Wild Bunch” in Fort Worth, 1900. It was this photograph that led to their downfall when it was seen by a detective in a Fort Worth photography studio.

The iconic November 1900 image shows the Fort Worth Five, including Harvey Logan, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But little has been written about the photographer or about the detective who discovered the photo.

It is one of the most famous photographs in Western history. Five well-dressed outlaws gaze into the camera—two of them destined to be immortalized 69 years later in the Paul Newman–Robert Redford film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. They since have been dubbed the “Fort Worth Five,” as they sat for the portrait in a Fort Worth, Texas, studio. But the identity of the photographer and the story of how the picture became a national phenomenon are equal parts myth and misinformation. Interviewed in the August 2008 issue of Wild West, Bob McCubbin, a noted collector of Old West photographs and then-president of the Wild West History Association, repeated the old canards that the photographer had placed the image “in his studio window” and made copies “for distribution to law enforcement around the country,” neither of which is true. Following is the real story, told for the first time, of how five outlaws came to have their picture taken in a Fort Worth studio on a November day in 1900—and why a sixth man and seventh man were just as important toward making that photograph an icon of Western history.

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