This little plaque is located in Telluride on the Mahr Building. This was the site of the original San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride, which Butch Cassidy and three others robbed on June 24, 1889. The old bank burned and was replaced by the Mahr Building in 1892. The San Miguel Valley Bank was located at the corner of Pine and Main Street. [excerpted from Wikipedia]
Matt Warner claims the idea to rob the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride, Colorado his idea. He states when he approached Butch Cassidy and his brother-in-law Tom McCarty that Butch jumped at the idea, while Tom was hesitant, but eventually gave in.
McCarty, Warner and Cassidy rode into Telluride on the afternoon of June 24, 1889. In preparation for the robbery, Warner says they dressed to the nines wearing, “silver-studded bridles, spurs, saddles and artillery, five-gallon hats, red bandanas, flashy shirts, chaps and high-heeled cowboy boots.” While his description sounds more Village People than outlaw, the disguises served them well. As far as the townsfolk were concerned, the outlaws were just some cowboys out for a day on the town.
The outlaws reached the bank just after 12 pm. According to the bank teller on duty, a man came into the bank to cash a check. As the teller bent over to verify the check, the man grabbed him by the neck and told him to be quiet. The man then called out to the men waiting outside, yelling, “Come on boys, it’s all right.” He was joined by his partners and preceded to rob the place. Warner recalls it slightly differently, stating McCarty waited outside with the horses while Cassidy and Warner went inside to pull the job.
Warner says he placed his gun under the teller’s nose, while Cassidy ransacked the bank. Once he finished rounding up the money, said to be approximately $20,000, the duo (for reasons completely unknown and, in fact, completely insane) led the teller outside with his hands up, thereby alerting the whole town to the robbery in progress. While the town watched, the outlaws mounted their horses and rode out of town firing a few shots as a deterrent to any would-be heroes.
Once out of town three outlaws raced as fast as they could towards the Mancos Mountains, unfortunately crossing paths with Harry Adsit in the process. Cassidy and Warner had recently worked for Mr. Adsit on his ranch, and they had no doubt he could identify them to authorities. Sure enough, when a pursuing posse also came across Adist, he informed them who they were and which way they were heading. Warner counts this fateful encounter as the point of no return in their outlaws careers.
“Just that little incident made all the difference in the world to us the rest of our lives. It give ‘em a clue so they could trace us for thousands of miles and for years. Right at that point is where we broke with our half-outlaw past, burned our bridges behind us, and no way to live except by robbing and stealing.”
It is believed that a fourth man, rumored to be Bert Madden, Bert Charter, the Sundance Kid, or Dan Parker, assisted the outlaws by setting up the relay horses used in the getaway. Sheriff James A. Beattie arrested Bert’s half-brother, Bill Madden, as he was dropping off a horse to an unknown man, assumed to be Bert. He was later released due to lack of evidence.
While Bill Madden was cleared of any wrongdoing, Telluride Town Marshall, Jim Clark, is said to have confessed to Gunnison County Sheriff to playing a role in the crime. Clark is said to have received $2200.00 of the stolen money as payment for being out of town during the robbery. Clark later wound up with one of the horses used in the robbery. Members of the Wild Bunch would try this same tactic some years later with less than spectacular results. [from Butch and Sundance.