By Marit Gookin

Staff Writer

Infamous outlaw Butch Cassidy lived and stole around Fremont County for many years, owning a ranch near Dubois and serving his only jail sentence after being arrested for horse theft in Lander. Now, over 100 years later, Cassidy is back – in the form of a mystery-solving scavenger hunt for kids of all ages at the Riverton Museum.

“Kids will be able to learn about Butch Cassidy and other things in the museum,” explained Site Manager Nathaniel Griffee. Starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, kids will solve clues and put the pieces together to find Cassidy’s stolen treasure, culminating in a high-noon water balloon toss to divvy up the loot. “There should be something for everyone,” Griffee said, noting that no kid will go home empty handed.

While the treasure the kids get to take home probably won’t be exactly the cash Cassidy and his gang, the Wild Bunch, stole – Griffee didn’t reveal exactly what the treasure will be, saying he hopes to keep it a surprise – the treasure hunt is based on history. In 1899, the Wild Bunch robbed a train near Wilcox, Wyo., making off with over $30,000 in cash and valuables. Griffee said that a book he found contains a story from Hank Boedeker, a famous Wyoming lawman of the era, that describes Cassidy burying treasure here in Fremont County. “I read that it’s supposed to be in the mountains near Fort Washakie – but in this case it’s here.”

While the story of buried treasure is likely a tall tale, it can be hard to sort the fact from the fiction when it comes to Cassidy. Notorious figures even in their own lifetimes, Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and the rest of the Wild Bunch loom large in the cultural imagination of the West. Stories range from buried treasure to Cassidy flipping silver dollars into the street to watch the local kids fight over them to rumors of Cassidy’s survival after his presumed death in South America. It can be hard to prove what is or is not true – for example, the superintendent of the South Pass City State Historic Site noted that while there are many rumors of Cassidy visiting South Pass, there is no definitive evidence one way or the other. Despite the lack of proof around the buried treasure story, the fact that Cassidy owned a ranch outside Dubois does lend some amount of credence to the idea that he may have left something behind in the area.

Regardless of whether there really is stolen treasure buried somewhere in the Wind River Range, Butch Cassidy’s stolen treasure is definitively somewhere in the Riverton Museum, to be found by a skilled detective or team of detectives. Griffee said that he hopes that kids will work together to solve the mystery – and encouraged everyone to wear clothes they don’t mind getting wet, in case any of the water balloons pop during the balloon toss.