This month at All My Heroes are Cowboys, I've blogged about one of my all-time favorite movies, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Since today at my blog I'm featuring the Sundance Kid, I thought Etta Place, the notorious woman who hung out with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, deserved her own blog appearance.
Life with the Sundance Kid
According to a Pinkerton Detective Agency memorandum dated July 29, 1902, she was "said.....to be from Texas," and in another Pinkerton document dated 1906, she is described as being "27 to 28 years old", placing her birth around 1878. This is confirmed by a hospital staff record from Denver, where she received treatment in May 1902, which reports her age as "23 or 24," (therefore again, c.1878).
Even her real name is a mystery; Place was the maiden surname of the mother of the Sundance Kid, Harry Alonzo Longabaugh. Longabaugh's mother, Annie Place, is recorded in various sources as Mrs. Harry Longabaugh or Mrs. Harry A. Place. The one instance where she is known to have signed her name, she recorded it as "Mrs. Ethel Place." The Pinkertons called her "Ethel", "Ethal", "Eva" and "Rita" before finally settling on "Etta" for their wanted posters. It has been suggested that her name became "Etta" after she moved to South America, where Spanish speakers could not pronounce "Ethel".
Actress Katherine Ross
In February 1901, Etta Place accompanied Longabaugh, whom she may or may not have married, to New York City, where at Tiffany's jewelers they purchased a lapel watch and stickpin and where at a studio in Union Square on Broadway she posed with him for the now famous DeYoung portrait, one of only two known images of her.
The mysteries of Etta Place
Those who had met Place claimed that the first thing they noticed about her was that she was strikingly pretty, with a very nice smile, and that she was cordial and refined, but an excellent shot with a rifle. She was said to have spoken in an educated manner, and she indicated that she was originally from the East Coast, although she never revealed an exact location.
In the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Etta Place is depicted as a schoolteacher and played by actress Katherine Ross. Hop over to All My Heroes are Cowboys to learn about a interesting trivia fact that happened to Katherine during the shooting of the movie.
So who was your favorite outlaw in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid—Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) or the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford)? Cast your vote at All My Heroes are Cowboys. (Look for the poll in the sidebar of my blog)
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