Not Beyond Gary Drayton

Butch Cassidy

DATELINE: Beyond Oak Island

The second episode of the Beyond Oak Island commercial for Curse of Oak Island may turn out to be a community audition for Gary Drayton’s own series. We hope so.

If not for Gary, we’d probably skip this show. He makes an entrance and tries to minimize the Laginas with his understanding of the Robber’s Roost and Butch Cassidy, despite being British.

The show is given over then to three re-enactments of famous robbers and their lost or buried booty. Only the first one deals with Butch and Sundance. Word from the Cassidy family is that Butch returned to the United States in 1925—and was not killed, as legend claims.

Meanwhile, the Lagina brothers reminisce about Westerns on TV in the 1950s for ten minutes. We see some stories about the Dalton Gang and Juan Murieta, irrelevant to the point of the show, except as examples of buried loot.

When finally Gary is able to escape Oak Island for his adventure, we realize it will be a short visit. He travels with the great grandnephew of Butch out into the Badlands of Utah. It is clearly a place where stolen loot is as lost as a needle in the proverbial haystack.

Gary’s not going to be able to find much unless he devotes great time—but he quickly assesses the HQ rubble and notes he will look here. He finds a Winchester cartridge, which tells him searchers have missed plenty. There is still ill-gotten gains somewhere in this vast area.

Alas, Gary’s trip is short and he will return to his main task at Oak Island, though if you want a pilot for a new series, Drayton after Cassidy’s double-eagles would be a treasure indeed.

The Last of the Western Elite

DATELINE: Butch & Sundance

Rakish mistakish Seated on each end.

  Bowler League?

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are inevitably the guys with raindrops falling on their heads.

When the American Experience doc series takes on their story, we feel that the light ditty that sent them over the cliff of fame is unnecessary to the real truth of tragedy.

The little film is more about the Pinkertons and modern technology of 1900 with marked bills, detailed descriptions, and Morse Code. Butch and Sundance could wear bowlers better than most, but the famous picture dogged them and doomed them.

On the tail end of the Western tale, they were actually weaned on the early dime novel adventures, becoming the last of a breed in the days after Jesse and Billy. They were dainty, dynamite train robbers of the Robber Barons, and that did them in.

Taking stage names that were part of the show, Butch Cassidy protected his family name by assuming the name of a paternalistic role model named Cassidy. Sundance took his name from the town where he spent much time.

Extrovert Cassidy and introvert Sundance were methodical and almost passionate in good manners for not shedding blood. They had a Robin Hood network of followers and supporters. Some claimed the Wild Bunch had 500 followers, all dedicated to Cassidy.

The two men were ultimately, if not homoerotically,  devoted mostly to each other, whether you throw in the beard of Etta Place or not. She left them in Argentina and they could ride off into the sunset together.

Alas, not knowing geography, language, or customs, they ended up as a murder-suicide duo, hopelessly entwined unto death. The real story doesn’t need a cute song to sum up their lives.