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Butch Cassidy and the Castle Gate Robbery

Robbers Roost and the Wild Butch Gang

Documented by Timothy Draper

Categories & Site Details: Gold, Gold & Doubloons, Mysteries, Outlaw Loot

Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch

Background History

 

This photo was taken after a robbery and later used as their wanted posters

In 1897 the famous outlaw bank robber, Butch Cassidy, left the now famous hideout of the “Wild Bunch” called “Robber’s Roost” and robbed the payroll of a mine near Castledale, Utah. The Wild Bunch spent many months preparing to rob the train payroll in Castledale. It is known still today to have been one of the boldest robberies in broad daylight. The train from Salt Lake City coasted into Castle Gate carrying the payroll for the Pleasant Valley Coal Company. Shortly, before the train arrived, a lone cowboy had hitched his horse in front of the saloon and sat inside waiting for the sound of the train whistle. When he heard it, he left the saloon and made his way down to the train. As the lone cowboy sat watching, another cowboy was loitering near the stairway of the company office.

As the baggage was unloaded from the train, three men including the company paymaster and two guards, gathered the payroll that consisted of three bags estimated at $7,000. They then emerged from the baggage room and headed to the company office some 75 yards away. We can assume that the miners and the townspeople were not happy about their wages being taken from them right in front of their eyes. The two cowboys, now known to have been Butch Cassidy and Elza Lay, got on their horses and rode south, pursued by two citizens, one in a buggy and the other on horseback shouting, “Bring that money back!” But it was too late, the pair were long gone.

Attempts were made to reach the sheriff by telephone, but they soon realized that the phone lines had been cut, making it impossible to spread the word of what had happened. This made it so that no one could communicate, and Butch Cassidy and his team were able to escape the area much easier. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch had a good journey ahead of them to make it their known hideout; Robber’s Roost. They used horses as a relay race, trading them out one by one as the horses became tired. By doing this, they were able to stay ahead of the mob that was hunting them down. The posse had a hard time tracking the Wild Bunch on the trails because they didn’t use horseshoes on their horses, so when horse tracks were found, they were hard to decipher because they looked like they could’ve been wild horse tracks in the wilderness. Even today, many people feel that the payroll was never found and that Butch Cassidy’s team hid it in the Robber’s Roost area for safe keeping. Because of the trouble, they brought onto themselves, the group spread out months later and were found separated all over the Western states. Some even say that Butch headed down to South America, but that’s a different story. This is about the Castle Gate Robbery.

 

The Castle gate Payroll Robbery Treasure

Worth Around $250,000 Dollars Today

 

The Castle Gate Robbery treasure consisted of $7000.00 in gold. Silver was present but it was tossed to the side by the Wild Bunch due to the value being much less than the gold and it was pretty heavy. This robbery was done in bond daylight and making a quick getaway was key. To leave town, Butch Cassidy had to make it through the crowd of working that happen to be waiting for the train to arrive with their paychecks. So you can imagine that the town wasn’t very happy when Butch was making off with the gold and that happened to be mixed in with their paychecks. Butch was able to make it out of town but the town formed a mob that wasn’t very far behind Butch. The Outlaws disappeared in the desert of Utah and the gold wasn’t ever found. That’s where Treasures in America came into this story in 2017.

Treasures in America’s Involvement

Treasures in America at the Canyonlands of Utah

In 2017, Treasures in America was contacted by a producer in New York City about the story of the Castlegate Robbery. They asked if we were willing to take on the job of assisting the famous wrestler, Chris Jericho out in the desert to look for the treasure on camera for the Travel Channel. After a couple of weeks, we accepted the job and started to make plans and preparations to ensure that we understood the history behind the story so we could have a better chance of making a discovery. Timothy Draper (Founder of Treasures in America) spent a couple of months on the phone with the producers assembling a team that could go deep in the wilderness looking for a quarter of a million dollars in today’s value. Many emails, phone conversations, and team meetings were held, along with the history study that was consistent over the 4 months. The producers and the TIA team reached out to many people in Utah and surrounding states to gain knowledge from others. This is a normal process that Treasures in America does, knowledge is key in historical treasure hunting. We had help from some Utah Authors and we reached out to known locals like Skyler Duckworth and many more.  At that point, we decided to go out on a scouting mission so we could become familiar with the area.

Scouting Trip

Basecamp at Goblin Valley, Utah

Goblin Valley Utah

In 2017, Treasures in America was contacted by a producer in New York City about the story of the Castlegate Robbery. They asked if we were willing to take on the job of assisting the famous wrestler, Chris Jericho out in the desert to look for the treasure on camera for the Travel Channel. After a couple of weeks, we accepted the job and started to make plans and preparations to ensure that we understood the history behind the story so we could have a better chance of making a discovery. Timothy Draper (Founder of Treasures in America) spent a couple of months on the phone with the producers assembling a team that could go deep in the wilderness looking for a quarter of a million dollars in today’s value. Many emails, phone conversations, and team meetings were held, along with the history study that was consistent over the 4 months. The producers and the TIA team reached out to many people in Utah and surrounding states to gain knowledge from others. This is a normal process that Treasures in America does, knowledge is key in historical treasure hunting. We had help from some Utah Authors and we reached out to known locals like Skyler Duckworth and many more.  At that point, we decided to go out on a scouting mission so we could become familiar with the area.

Robbers Roost – The Wild Butch Hideout

Robber’s Roost

Even when we were on top of the area, we couldn’t see the old ruins of Robber’s Roost, it was a well-hidden hideout

At the end of our trip, we collected the information we needed to take back with us to make plans and report back to the producers of our journey. In many ways, we weren’t just the treasures hunters, but we were also the filming and producers guide into the Canyonlands area and into Robber’s Roost. We packed up our things and headed back home…

Filming for the Travel Channel 

The Legend of… with Chris Jericho Season 1 Episode 1 

2 Months After The Scouting Trip

Filming day was here and the whole Treasures in America’s team and about 20 filming crew members arrived at Green River to start our 3 long days. There was Timothy Draper, LeeAnn Draper, Stephen Shaffer, Shaun Fotherham, Antonio Mendez, David Graham, Todd Andresen, & Ryan Moreau. We were all excited about what was coming and we were excited to see what treasures lied ahead. We brought out all the best equipment we could. We had two DJI drones, laptops and tablets, Minelab detectors like the CTX 3030 and the Minelab SDC 2300. We brought our maps and GPS. Yes, the team figured we would have everything we needed to make a great discovery.

Timothy Draper, Chris Jericho, & Steve Shaffer

​We woke up the next morning and Chris Jericho asked Timothy Draper & Stephen Shaffer to be in his known Podcast, Talk Is Jericho. The session lasted about 1 hour and the two of them gave a good show full of all kinds of treasure knowledge, sites, and history all over America.  After the podcast was over everyone quickly loaded up the cars and we headed out to the desert to start our filming for the search of Butch Cassidy’s Loot. The first day was surrounded by looking for clues of wear Butch and the Wild Bunch may have hidden the loot. The best way to look for clues is to find what’s left behind.

​Attempts were made to reach the sheriff by telephone, but they soon realized that the phone lines had been cut, making it impossible to spread the word of what had happened. This made it so that no one could communicate, and Butch Cassidy and his team were able to escape the area much easier. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch had a good journey ahead of them to make it their known hideout; Robber’s Roost. They used horses as a relay race, trading them out one by one as the horses became tired. By doing this, they were able to stay ahead of the mob that was hunting them down. The posse had a hard time tracking the Wild Bunch on the trails because they didn’t use horseshoes on their horses, so when horse tracks were found, they were hard to decipher because they looked like they could’ve been wild horse tracks in the wilderness. Even today, many people feel that the payroll was never found and that Butch Cassidy’s team hid it in the Robber’s Roost area for safe keeping. Because of the trouble, they brought onto themselves, the group spread out months later and were found separated all over the Western states. Some even say that Butch headed down to South America, but that’s a different story. This is about the Castle Gate Robbery.

 

Timothy Draper Utah Treasure Hunter

The Final Journey

By finding Butch Cassidy’s name a few miles away from our destination, we now felt like we had evidence that the chimney ruins we had found during our scouting trip, was, in fact, the famous Robber’s Roost. This led us to believe that we were closing in on the buried loot that has been hidden for so many years. We used the metal detectors in the area and found a few old bullets that could match the time period of the early 1900s. We found a couple of horseshoes in the area of the Roost’s corral. Chris Jericho was lucky enough to find a silver coin from the late 1800s, man what a find that was.

We didn’t find the loot but we feel that we did find many clues that helped point that we were in the right spot and that the treasures, if still there, could be reached.

In our opinion, we think if we take more equipment with us next time we may have a greater chance of making a discovery. The search area is large and there’s no telling where the Wild Bunch would have hidden it. I can tell you that we had many resources, and we reached out to many experts in their field that believe the treasure was never recovered, and that the Butch Cassidy’s crew were all killed before they ever had a chance to come back for their loot. One thing is for sure, this legend has become a part of Utah and one of it’s most sought out places to visit and to talk about. I bet it will remain that way for many more years to come. You could find it yourself! All one needs to do is your history, research, and get out in the field to try your luck at the treasure. You may just see us out there ourselves. We consider this an open investigation and we will continue to research and seek out the history and loot.

Talk Is Jericho - Real Life Indiana Jones Podcast

With Timothy Draper & Steve Shaffer

Listen Here