- (1878?–?)One of the most famous mysteries of the old West is the identity of Etta Place. We do have her picture and we have numerous early references to her in historical records, but what ultimately happened to her is unknown. Place’s story in Western films, however, is usually based on one fact: if there was a need for a really gorgeous female outlaw, Etta Place fit the bill. Other historical womenof the West, such as Belle Starror Calamity Janeoften lacked what Hollywood considers glamour. Place was variously an associate or a lover of Harry Longbaugh, aka, the Sundance Kid. Perhaps she was a school teacher or perhaps she was a madam of a Fort Worth brothel. Legend says that she could ride and shoot as well as either Butch Cassidy or the Sundance Kid. She evidently followed the outlaws to South America, but what happened after that remains a mystery. Katharine Ross played her role in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Cassidy’s (Paul Newman) assessment of her may be accurate: “She was the best housekeeper in the Pampas but she was a whore at heart.”See also HISTORICAL AUTHENTICITY.
Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. Paul Varner. 2012.
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