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Daniel Buck
Re: Two Mules for Butch & Sundance--daily ride rate for horses
Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:56am

All good information. I think that there might be some variation in any of these numbers -- up or down -- depending on the terrain, for many hours on the trail, and how fast one pushed the animals. All we know is that A.G. Francis said that the Aramayo bandits -- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, if you will -- asked him to guide him to Estarca, which is SW of Francis's camp at Tomahuaico where the bandits had spent the evening of 4 November. The morning of 6 November the bandits were seen by an eyewitness arriving in Cucho (meaning that if they had departed Tomahuico the morning of 5 November that had traveled approximately 24 hours -- ¡mulas pobrecitas!), which is NW of & closer to Tomahuaico.

Two possibilities. 1/ Francis erred on where the bandits asked him to guide him that first day, and they went direct from Tomahaico via Cucho to San Vicente; or 2/ Francis was correct and the bandits took the long way around, perhaps to throw off pursuing posses, making what amounts to a wide U, from Tomahuaico SW to Estarca, then N to Cucho, and NW to San Vicente.

From Tomahuaico to San Vicente direct via Cucho might be 80 miles, via Estarca maybe 100 miles -- both guesstimates. All we know with any certainty is that the bandit duo arrive on mules in Cucho the morning of 6 November and in San Vicente on mules the evening of 6 November. And no pursuing posse from the Tupiza area caught up with them.

Given that mules were the preferred mode of transportation in the Bolivian Andes, due to stability and endurance, as well as that mules could travel on less water & food, the bandits' choice of mules is eminently reasonable. Also, San Vicente was undoubtedly not their final destination (though it turned out that way), they had hundreds of miles further in mind, perhaps to Uyuni, Oruro, or Antofagasta. Dan

  • OK here is what Simon CAsson said his daily ride rate was on for the bandit trail, and his opinion on horses vs. mules in the Andes. Simon implies--and it makes obvious sense--his travel rate by... more
    • Re: Two Mules for Butch & Sundance--daily ride rate for horses — Daniel Buck, Sat Apr 14 6:56am
      • Mules-Andes-Roy LetsonSimon casson, Sun Apr 15 1:14am
        Vince, Don't forget crucial evidence... Sundance was working other stu-running mules for contractor Roy Letson. All the mines used them and burros. Horses don't do well at high altitude for work. If... more
        • Re: Mules-Andes-Roy LetsonVince Garcia, Sun Apr 15 6:00pm
          I'm in agreement w/you, Simon. It's others here who are of the opinion they would have used horses, thus they believe this is more evidence the robbers were not Butch and SD.
      • The humble mule wins?Vince Garcia, Sat Apr 14 11:02am
        So that is a total of 80 miles over 4 days, or 20 miles a day on mules? at worst equal to what Simon did per day on horses on the bandit trail. And He admits horses would fare somewhat worse in the... more
        • Re: The humble mule wins?Daniel Buck, Sat Apr 14 12:53pm
          Vince, Two days, not four days: the trek from Tomahuaico to San Vicente was over two days, leaving Tomahuaico the morning of 5 November -- Francis, if he is remembering the details correctly, has... more
          • Re: The humble mule wins?Vince Garcia, Sat Apr 14 2:39pm
            Don't they arrive on the 8th? leaving on the 5th would be 4 days But if it's 2 days that that's 40 miles/day by mule? I have a hard time seeing it. If they took 4 days, arriving on the 8th that would ... more
            • Re: The humble mule wins?Daniel Buck, Sat Apr 14 3:49pm
              Vince, I have no idea how far a mule can go if properly motivated, but I do not think 50 miles a day is unrealistic. Some info here, EXCERPT:... more
            • Re: The humble mule wins?Daniel Buck, Sat Apr 14 3:36pm
              Vince, the shootout was the evening of the 6th; the bodies were discovered the 7th. I screw the dates up all the time. Dan
              • Re: The humble mule wins?Vince Garcia, Sat Apr 14 4:17pm
                I guess mules can move pretty good then, especially when you have an abusive guy like SD driving them to the limit if he wants to. In any event, i see no reason why to be Butch and SD they would have ... more
                • Re: The humble mule wins?Daniel Buck, Sat Apr 14 6:45pm
                  Vince, I can't really add anything to what I've already posted, that mules were the preferred mount in the Bolivian Andes in the 19th and early 20th century; they are more sure-footed on difficult... more
                  • Mule PhotoChrisV, Sun Apr 15 6:33am
                    You can not tell who is in that photos except that there are mules and not horses. Could be anyone.
                    • Re: Mule PhotoDaniel Buck, Sun Apr 15 6:56am
                      Chris, Best to look at the big picture, so speak. Sometimes provenance -- that is, information about the date and location of the photo and identity of the people depicted -- trumps resolution.... more
          • Two Mule for Two foolsChrisV, Sat Apr 14 1:13pm
            Vince you might want to recalculate as Dan said That is my quote and I stand by it Dan. These guys did not have the same M.O. as Butch and Sundance. Nor to they fit the description of the two... more
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