A FEW THOUGHTS ON BILLY, THE KID

MY THOUGHTS ON THE KID

     Well I’ve finally finished the saga of Billy, The Kid.  Now I would like to ramble on a little bit about this adventure.  This is the last verse of the ballad:

“THERE’S MANY A MAN WITH A FACE FINE AND FAIR,

WHO STARTS OUT IN LIFE WITH A CHANCE TO BE SQUARE.

BUT JUST LIKE POOR BILLY, HE WANDERS ASTRAY,

AND LOSES HIS LIFE IN THE VERY SAME WAY.”

     Alas, I recon this is true, a single mistake can lead to a chain of events that leads to doom.

     Lets look at some of Billys legend.

“WAY OUT IN THE WEST WITH A GUN IN HIS HAND,

AT THE AGE OF TWELVE YEARS HE KILLED HIS FIRST MAN.”

      We have seen in the previous chapters that Billy’s first brush with the law was about the age of sixteen.  He was jailed for the theft of the Chinamen’s cloths.  After that we have him in New York city, where it is claimed he killed the Irish youth with a cheese knife.  This is not generally recounted in the wild west tale, but this is number one.

     Next we find him in Camp Grant, where he tangled with the Blacksmith, Frank “Windy” Cahill, and shot and killed him in the fight.  I kinda feel this was a act of self defense myself.  This is number two.

      Then comes the Lincoln County conflict, where he becomes known as The Kid.  After his employer John Tunstal was killed The Kid, still a minor gunhand, was part of a posse that captured Frank Baker and Willim “Buck” Morton, two men that were part of the group that killed Tunstall.  Billy and another posse member killed them, claiming they were trying to escape.  Do we give Billy both of them ?  If so this makes numbers three and four.

     Next on April 1, Sheriff Brady and  George Hindman were ambushed and killed by a group of which Billy was a particapant.  Billy later was tried and found guilty of Brady;s murder.  Let’s be generous and give Billy both of these also – numbers five and six.

  Then there was the shoot out with “Buckshot Roberts”.  This one probably was not Billy’s to claim, but heck, make it number seven. 

      Now comes the shoot out at McSween’s house.  Billy is said to have killed a deputy at McSween’s door. number eight.

     After the truce Billy killed a man in a saloon brawl. number nine.

      Then Deputy Carlyle, at White Oaks – Billy denied this killing, so lets let it pass.

       Finally comes the murders of Deputies  J. W. Bell and Bob Olinger in the Linclon jail break.  This makes the total questionably at eleven.

“THERE’S TWENTY-ONE MEN I’VE PUT BULLETS THROUGH.

SHERIFF PAT GARRET MUST MAKE TWENTY-TWO.’

     Well the song, like most of Billy exploits, has been greatly twisted out of shape and fact.  Most of the “experts” credit Billy with seven to eight killings.  Pat Garret wrote with a ghost writers “A true Account of Billy, the Kid’s Life”.  In it he claimed that Billy saved a wagon train from attacting Indian’s with an axe.  Hollywood has done no better.  In the late sixties Paul Newman potrayed Billy in “The Left Handed Gun” , based on the reversed negetiave photo, mentioned in the first chapter.

         Lord I love Sam Peckenpa’s “Pat Garret and Billy The Kid” with James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson.  They both are two old for the chacaters, but the story loosely follows the plot.  But what I love is that the  film has a veritable who’s who of vetran Chacater actors in it.

      The later “Young Guns” , with Emilio Estaves, probably capatures Billy’s manner best of all.  But while it pretty closely follows the time line,  the young gang members do not blend with the facts.

     In one of my books with great photos I, have a page with a photo of a Whitney-Kennedy lever action 44-40carbine given by Billy, The Kid to U. S. deputy Marshal Eugene Van Patten.  I have not encountered this marshal’s name or the event in any of my readings .  On the same photo are two pistols that belonged to Pat Garret.  Also shown are a warrant to Bob Olinger for the arrest of Billy The Kid.  The items are in the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, in Los Angeles, Calif.

     Also in one of my books is a picture of the shotgun with the stock wired together that The Kid used to kill Bob Olinger, and a double action pistol said to have been in Billy’s possession when he was killed.  These are also on display at the Aurty Mesuem.

     I have been to the Western Heritage Museum in the past, it is loaded with Historical Western Treasures from the past and from hollywood.  It is well worth the effort for any one with a love of our old west.

So I finally come to the close of this exaustive portion of my blog.

Once again, let me re-emphasize that I do not claim to be an expert on anything about

which i write.  I just quickly ride through someone’s books and rustle a few tidbits of

information.  Nothing you cannot find on the internet yourself.

Thanks for riding along on this rambling word raid with me. 

let’s hope  we don’t wind up litterally on the end of someones rope!

ramblingbob

Related reading on Billy The Kid from Rambling Bob:

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12 Responses to “A FEW THOUGHTS ON BILLY, THE KID”

  1. Henry McCarty aka William H. Bonney aka “Billy the Kid” « The life, times and adventures of Rambling Bob Says:

    […] A FEW THOUGHTS ON BILLY,THE KID […]

  2. ramblingbob Says:

    I really don’t want to start a new chapter, so here is a little more. Billy was laid out in a over-sized white shirt, and burried in the Fort sumner cemenetry, between the bodies of his two friends, Tom O’Folliard and Charlie Bowdre. Billy’s grave is now covered with a concrete slab and surrounded by a chain link fence. Souviner hunters have chipped chunks of the concerete. Does Billy’s body realy lie there? Questions are still asked today, floods have ravaged the cemenetry and washed away graves and bodies, and the army moved all they could find to the National Cementry. At least two people later surfaced claiming to be Billy, The Kid, so The Kid remains a enigma still today.

  3. George Says:

    Hi

    Was Billy carrying a gun the night he was killed ? Your opinion…..?

    George
    Canada

  4. ramblingbob Says:

    Billy The, Kid had a butcher knife in one hand and a double action pistol in the other. In on of my boks There is a photo of a small handgun claimed to be the pistol fromthat night. I is in a group of things that belonged to Pat Garret. In my post it is stated he did not fire because he did not know if the person in the dark was a friend or not. Hope this answers your question.

  5. Adam Says:

    He did NOT have a gun the night he were killed. Do you (ramblingbob) belive in everything Pat Garret wrote in his book? Billy the Kid only had a knife in his hands and was shot down by Garret in the dark.

  6. ramblingbob Says:

    I never read Pat Garret’s book , just a number of other books I have , What makes you such a expert? you never stated. I do not know where the other people I have read got their information I expect they are as reliable as your informants After all no body but a few others, other than Pat Garret was on hand and each witness had their own agenda years later. It is not important enough to me to call you out on a dusty street to settel the matter . so thanks for you sharp comment. PS do you really think a paranoid individual like Billy would even answer the call of nature without a gun on hand???

  7. ramblingbob Says:

    Also I think Pete Maxwell had a few things to say about “The Kid’s” shooting. and he was present.

  8. Adam Says:

    I´m not an expert but I do know that Garret exaggerated in the book just to make him look good.And make Billy the devil. Don´t you think that “paranoid” Billy would´ve killed GArret first if he had a gun? He was among friends so maybe he thought he didn´t needed the gun when he was out for meat.
    The most experts belive in the “only the knife” theory.

  9. ramblingbob Says:

    Garret really did not write the book it was ghost written by a penny-dreadful novel writer and Garret only lent his name for a profit and the fame afforded by assoiation with the book and incedent. If yoyuhave studdided Garrets life post bBlly he had a long and eventful life, usually ending in failures after being taken advantage of. He had big visions, just not the means to follow through he was naive ,but not stupid. You keep refering to “Experts” but I have read a lot and have more than a few books on the old west. you are the first “only a knife theory I have encountered. once again what are your sources? I have books with photos of a pistol supposed to have been found with Billy that night. As for not shooting Garret, the room was supposted to have been dark, and he was ill stand by my six books until you can show me these reputable experts you refer to.asking Maxwell who was in the room with him when Garret shot him. More than one researcher has stated these findings.

  10. Adam Says:

    So he didn´t write that book? OK, but the novel writter wasn´t even there so everthing that was said how Billy died came from Garret´s mouth…. am I right? Garret had a reputation of being a coward and had a criminal past so the possibility that he lied about Billy having a gun in his hands is big.

    He,(Garret) , said that Billy didn´t die immeditaly. It took him 1 to 2 minutes to die so if Billy did have a gun, why didn´t he shoot Garret the second he was shot and/or after he was hit? He was famous for his gun handeling so the chance of holding a gun in that room is for me zero.

    It´s not heroic to shoot a guy who only carries a knife and Garret knew that ofcourse so he probably lied about the gun.

    My opinion in this matter is not so unrealistic….

    I started to belive this theory when visited aboutbillythekid.com
    The woman that the sites belongs to wrote som really good points about his death and I couldn´t agree more.

    O

  11. bloodonyoursaddle Says:

    “….just ask billy the kid, certainly the taste of ancient lies and unkempt promise fashioned by corporate pajeros lingers in his mouth as well. he is still out there rolling over in his desert grave ranting injustice to himself.

    struck down by a familiar figure in a darkened bedroom for a quick dollar and an example, the kid fell backwards crying out Quien es! Quien es! from death’s rattle as fine young women gathered around to comfort him in his passing.

    i imagine my own fate mirroring that, though not as comfortable or romantic or remembered. a bullet i catch a split second glance of from the corner of my eye in the form of a shopping cart driven by two large hispanic ladies while trying to cross the frozen t.v. diner isle to checkout.

    for a moment i note the coolness of the polished floor under me as i gaze up at the fluorescent lighting and security cameras bleeding out and i too cry Quien es! Whos there! Quien es la puta!….”

    http://bloodonyoursaddle.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/the-passing-of-the-american-west/

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