A black and white photograph of a group of men sitting on a bench wearing suits and hats

Photo by John Swartz, Denver Public Library Special Collections (Public Domain)

While the men pictured appear respectable, they were actually infamous outlaws—members of what was known as the Wild Bunch, the most notorious group of train robbers in the Old West. The group was composed of, from left, Harry “the Sundance Kid” Longabaugh, Will “News” Carver, Ben “the Tall Texan” Kilpatrick, Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan, and Robert LeRoy Parker, aka “Butch Cassidy.” They posed for this group photo in Fort Worth on Nov. 21, 1900, at the studio of photographer John Swartz, who had no idea these nattily attired men were wanted by the law. Fort Worth detective Charles Scott visited the studio soon after on unrelated business and noticed the portrait. He recognized Carver and Logan from circulars he had seen and spread the word to the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which distributed hundreds of copies of the photo. That spelled the beginning of the end for the Wild Bunch. Soon after, Carver was killed in a shootout with lawmen, and Logan died during a separate gunfight. Kilpatrick was arrested, tried, jailed for 10 years, released, and killed during a train robbery near Sanderson in 1912. Parker and Longabaugh escaped to Bolivia and disappeared. In retrospect, posing for the photo was a case of vanity leading to disaster.

Know of any fascinating vintage Texas photographs? Send copies or ideas to [email protected].


From the September 2023 issue

Get the Magazine

Save up to 62% off the cover price


Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Sign up for magazine extras, upcoming events, Mercantile specials, subscription offers, and more.