Several years ago, while I was still living up in Northern California, I started working my way through a list of 250 of what are supposed to be some of the best films ever made. I’m almost through the list and I have to say some of them have been wonderful, absolutely wonderful. Others, not so much. Okay, that’s being polite. There have been a couple in which I am still confounded by how in the world anyone in their right mind would think it’s even a halfway decent film. THX-1138 should be destroyed in its entirety. It’s the worst movie EVER!
But I digress. This post is not about the bad movies I’ve subjected myself to but rather, it’s about Butch Cassidy. You see, I first watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid shortly after undertaking this crazy film watching project. It was one of those films that I felt everyone else had seen but that somehow I had missed. The same can be said about Cool Hand Luke, Rebel Without A Cause, and many more. I had undertook this whole film watching project for several reasons. I felt that I had missed out on quiet a few of these films. That they had help to shape the current culture of America, and the world, and in order to better understand our society, along with all the references of speech that we had picked up along the way, I wanted to see and fully understand what everyone was talking about. Also, it provided me with an escape at a time in which I was trying to pick up the pieces of my life after a devastating break up. They gave me a break, even if it was just for a couple of hours, and they also helped me to reconnect with friends. Nothing like, inviting people over for dinner and a movie to help heal your wounds. It provides you with the chance to not focus on yourself but rather on others. I am so thankful to all of my friends who were there for me and who supported me by just coming over and letting me cook for them and watch random movies with me.
This film started a sort of avalanche after I watched it. Since then, I’ve read a biography on Robert Redford, watched The Sting, read The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to the Good Life: Simple Measures That Benefit You and the Place You Live, watched Cool Hand Luke, and most recently it took me to the town of Circleville, UT and the home of Robert Leroy Parker, also known as Butch Cassidy. Mind you, this place was not on the list when planning the road trip through the south west. Instead, we were camping at Bryce Canyon and happened to see it on the map. Being so close, I totally wanted to go.
There are no signs to mark the homestead and we drove by it at first. It’s located on the outskirts of Circleville, UT and when we made it into the town center we knew we had gone to far. So, we turned around and drove back, stopping at the local Butch Cassidy Motel & Café to ask for directions. Where else would you stop? It’s named after Butch so they have to know where the ol’ homestead is, right? So, we jumped back on the road and drove a few miles back in the direction we had come.
There it was. Sitting peacefully alone beneath some cottonwood trees that were brilliant yellow in the mid-morning autumn sun. We pulled off the road and drove gingerly down the short dirt road leading to the front of the place. We parked and proceed to grab our cameras and head out to explore the place.
It was incredibly quiet even though it sat beside a highway. Only a handful of cars and trucks passed while we were there yet they seems as though they were from a different time. The homestead was remarkable well intact given the notoriety of Butch Cassidy. It probably helps a great deal that there are no signs marking the place. We were alone there. No one else stopped to join us so we were left to explore uninterrupted.
It’s this quiet solitude that I could not appreciate when I first undertook the film project but now I can’t get enough of. It is because of lists and challenges like this that I have come to learn about who I am, not just who I am in relation to another. It has pushed me to try things I would not have tried before. To develop my own tastes, preferences, passions, loves, appreciations, and more. You could say it was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid who pushed me out there yet brought me back to me. So, I raise my cup of coffee to you and the other outlaws of the west, on this Monday morning, for it is you who helped to shape America and it is you who taught me how to rescue myself.