Wikimedia CommonsA cropped version of the sole fully authenticated photo of Billy the Kid. From his first robberies to his days as a frontier gunslinger to his epic death, Billy the Kid remains a legend of the Wild West. He was to outlaws what Wyatt Earp was to lawmen, an iconic figure whose legacy lives on to this day. His parents were Irish immigrants who came to America and married just after turning
He also went by the name William H. Bonney and probably many other names at various times.
Taken to Lincoln for a May execution, Billy shot two guards and escaped to Fort Sumner where two-and-a-half months later he was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett. Billy was 21 years old. Eight months following the killing, Garrett authored a book, “The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid,” that cemented Billy’s name in western lore. Watch video · Billy was captured and sentenced to death for the murder of a sheriff, but escaped after killing guards. The legend of Billy the Kid was created by his killer, Sheriff Pat Garrett. Early Life. Billy the Kid was born William Henry McCarty Jr. on November 23, , in New York City. The legend of Billy the Kid has acquired iconic status in American folklore, yet the outlaw himself, also known as William Bonney, had minimal impact on historical events in .
He is quite probably the most misunderstood and most misreported historical figure in old west stories. The legend says Billy the Kid was the greatest of the cold-blooded killers of anyone in the old west. Whether or not he was cold-blooded is a matter of speculation but he certainly was a killer.
Billy the Kid was only one of many that took part in the Lincoln County Wars another page will be created later to cover this particular story but he is the one that lives on in history and even more so in legend. It is believed he was born in New York but this is subject to the same speculation as his birth date.
The first references to him that are reasonably reliable are of him living in Wichita, Kansas, with his mother in Prior to that it is likely he spent part of his childhood in Indiana. Unfortunately, his mother was suffering from Consumption and she died on the 16th September Her tombstone, pictured at left, shows the name as Kathrine Capital K and only one e.
I have been unable to find why this may have occurred. I had not noticed this spelling on the grave until it was pointed out by a reader, Rob J in a comment of this page.
An obscure but fascinating piece of Old West Stories trivia. Billy the Kid soon found himself alone and needing to earn his own living.
Soon they were in trouble and Billy was arrested but escaped. This was the first of several escapes from custody, one of the key things that contributed to the creation of his unique story that made him a legend of the old west.
Billy ended up on the run in Arizona. He bummed around for a couple of years working as a ranch hand and gambler.
Neither occupation afforded him much success. It is probably around this time he first got involved in horse stealing as an easy way to get some easy cash together. At Camp Grant, still in Arizona, he got into his first truly serious bout of trouble with the law.
Involved in a fight with Frank Cahill, Billy used his gun and Cahill lay dead. Things again went wrong and Billy ended up in jail for horse stealing. When he got out he was still heavily embroiled in the war and started running with the Tunstall side.
Billy continued to get on the wrong side of the law and in particular, Sheriff Brady. Then they ambushed Sheriff Brady and his deputy George Hindman.A tintype of Billy the Kid was the only known authenticated image of the outlaw when it sold for $ million in Since then, two other images have come to light.
but it would take a former Chicago journalist to send the Kid’s legend into the pop-culture stratosphere.
he was buying physical proof of what has become one of America. The legend of Billy the Kid has acquired iconic status in American folklore, yet the outlaw himself, also known as William Bonney, had minimal impact on historical events in .
Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid. Billy the Kid was free for just three months before his final encounter with Pat Garrett. The moment word got out about his escape, New Mexico’s governor put another $ bounty on the Kid, dead or alive.
In July, Garrett caught wind that Billy might be staying with a friend in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Taken to Lincoln for a May execution, Billy shot two guards and escaped to Fort Sumner where two-and-a-half months later he was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett.
Billy was 21 years old. Eight months following the killing, Garrett authored a book, “The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid,” that cemented Billy’s name in western lore.
THE SHORT LIFE & LEGEND OF BILLYTHE KID. Hollywood westerns tend to distill the old west into anassortment of good guys wearing white hats and bad guys wearing black hats,with settlers serving as the extras. The reality of the western territories wasmore nuanced. Some of the more unsavory characters vacillated between beinglawmen and being outlaws.
The psychoanalyst Alfred Adler wrote an analysis in of the mythic aspects of the legend of Billy the Kid in which he compared the Kid to Oedipus, King Arthur, Robin Hood, and other legendary heroes of the past.
Adler was the first writer to discuss the symbolic significance of Billy the Kid's nickname as a .