12 Good Reasons Why I Liked Billy, The Kid

The only photo (tintype) of Billy, The Kid in existence

I’m not getting into the ongoing argument is Billy, The Kid alive today or not. I do admit that there are some legitimacy to (some) of the points of those saying he “is” still around and living at a very old age. Then there are those on the opposing-side saying they have concrete proof that he was killed by legendary sheriff, Pat Garrett.

This, to me, is where I see the controversy starting. History states that Garrett and Bonney, Billy The Kid’s not Billy’s real name, (but a name he took from his stepdad as his alias), were close friends in Garrett’s latter years. And without sorting out the endless what if’s, or’s, and maybe’s, I pose this question, “If Garrett “did” shoot Billy, why did he shoot a close friend?” Or, since controversy knows no boundary, did Garrett “shoot” Billy, but not in a life-threatening wound, as a way for Billy to escape and never be chased again?

Official wanted poster for Billy, The Kid

Clu Gulager played Billy, The Kid in the television western, The Tall Man

Barry Sullivan played Pat Garrett in The Tall Man

How television portrayed Billy, The Kid

Don’t get up in the air about my questions, I am just a casual-observer. But I am not the only bystander who shares the last question. Many who knew Billy were always in awe of his charismatic personality that was always in the “on” position, so he had many fans and friends. History also says that he had “a way” with the ladies, mostly Spanish ladies whom he loved dearly.

Another interesting fact about Billy’s persona is that if a person did him a favor, he would remember the good turn for what seemed like forever—as those who knew him spoke of his sharp memory. What amazes me is the fact that Billy never drank liquor, smoked, but loved to gamble. He loved books and was a talented singer. This doesn’t sound like a “blood-thirsty” gunslinger, thief or outlaw, but like you, I am entitled to my opinion.

For one of America’s most-deadly outlaws, more than 1000 books have been published about Billy, The Kid’s life and over 60 films have been made bring this American icon to the big screen. And on it goes.

Emilio Estevez was Billy, The Kid, in the film, The Young Guns

Billy, The Kid's 1873 Colt

Call me foolish, but I like Billy, The Kid

Alive? Deceased? I do not know. Neither do the groups arguing both ways. If you want me to join you, simply “show me the proof.” This reminds me a lot of the long-lasting controversies surrounding Sasquatch and if “it” is real or not.

Sue me, hate me for saying this, but since my teenage days, I have always rooted for the “underdog,” no matter what match, game, street fight or drag race. I feel this way because “I” have always felt as if I were an underdog in most of the places and situations I have been through.

So when an “underdog,” upset the sports world and set it on its ear by defeating a bigger, more-powerful boxer, it was like “I” and my fellow “underdogs,” had won the boxing match too. And we were sharing in the real underdog’s applause that he was enjoying in the ring.

So that being said, I have to share this with you . . . here are . . .

“12 Good Reasons Why I Liked Billy, The Kid”

Billy, The Kid at a glance--


William H. Bonney (born William Henry McCarty, Jr. c. November 23, 1859 – c. July 14, 1881), better known as Billy the Kid and also known as William Antrim, was a 19th-century gunman who participated in the Lincoln County War and became a frontier outlaw in the American Old West. According to legend, he killed 21 men, but it is generally believed that he killed 8 people. He killed his first man in April 1 1877 at the age of 18.

McCarty (or Bonney, the name he used at the height of his notoriety) was 5'8" (173 cm) tall with blue eyes, blond hair or dirty blond hair, and a smooth complexion. He was described as being friendly and personable at times, and as edgy as a cat. Contemporaries described him as a "neat" dresser who favored an "unadorned Mexican sombrero". These qualities, along with his cunning and celebrated skill with firearms, contributed to his paradoxical image as both a notorious outlaw and a folk hero.

Billy was relatively unknown during most of his lifetime but was catapulted into legend in 1881 when New Mexico's governor, Lew Wallace, placed a price on his head. In addition, the Las Vegas Gazette (Las Vegas, New Mexico) and the New York Sun carried stories about his exploits. Other newspapers followed suit. Several biographies written about Billy the Kid after his death portrayed him in varying lights.

Source: WikiPedia

1.) Billy, The Kid had "that way" with most of the women he met.

2.) Billy never ran from anyone--bullies, loudmouths, or know-it-all's.

3.) He never sang with a quartet because it might have weakened his image.

4.) Billy, The Kid wasn't a big fan of opera or ballet.

5.) No his credit, Billy hever had his face slapped by any woman--even those he loved.

6.) Billy never partook in public baths.

7.) Of the things Billy, The Kid loved, designing curtains for the home was not one of them.

8.) Billy, The Kid was never accused of selling second-quality goods from the back of a wagon.

9.) Billy had a good eye for matching his clothes.

10.) Among his many gifts, Billy, The Kid was only an average cook.

11.) Tap dancing never appealed to Billy, The Kid even as a cover for his outlaw image.

12.) Billy never was known to wear a raccoon skin cap.

You might want to view these links for more about Billy, The Kid

http://www.biography.com/people/billy-the-kid-278971

video.pbs.org/video/2183115231

For taking the time out of your schedule to read this hub and all of my hubs that you have read.

I really mean that from the heart.

Kenneth

More by this Author


Comments 28 comments

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Great hub! I, too, am fascinated by the life of Billy, The Kid. Those really are 12 good reasons to like Billy, The Kid : )

Voted up ++++ and away

Blessings always


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Yep I road many a mile as Billy. Sometimes though it was my turn to shoot him. Everything bad said 'bout him is a dirty lie.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Faith Reaper,

You are so sweet to say these words about this hub. And your votes. I pray that God blesses you richly.

And have a great day.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Eric,

I tend to agree.

Thank you kindly for your input. What if I told you that "I" knew Billy's second cousin three times removed?


Ann1Az2 profile image

Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

This is an entertaining hub, Kenneth. Over the years, Hollywood has helped to popularize the gunslinger. I'm sure they were not all what they are portrayed as in the movies. My favorite has always been Doc Holiday. I would imagine that if we met any of them when they lived, they might just appear to be normal people like you and me. Murderers are not always strange. We know that from the neighborhoods of people that are shocked when someone in their subdivision has killed a member of their own family.

By the way, for Billy the Kid to be alive, he'd have to be 155 years old. That is unless they have his birth date wrong. If we wait long enough, though, someone will claim to be him. lol


sheilamyers 2 years ago

You provided some interesting facts about Billy the Kid. I've never read about him, but have seen a few documentaries on TV. Thanks for the history and the silliness.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Ann,

I appreciate your informative comment. And I too, liked Doc Holliday in Tombstone. Gunslingers on American Heroes Channel on DirecTV cast him so close to Val Kilmer for his stylish wardrobe, but he was really a mean person.

But he liked Wyatt so much he would die for him.

But still, Billy has taken a bad rap from a lot of folks who do not know their history. Just know how to make bucks off of someone deceased.

Come back and visit often.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear sheilamyers . . . sorry for not commenting earlier. I was researching all about tour guides, F.B.I. agents and other areas of hubbardry. Hey, a new word. Use it with my blessings.

Silliness? You are so nice to me. Thanks. And as of now, you are the Director of The New Gilligan's Island film.


carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 2 years ago from Northeast United States

Interesting :) I did research on him to have him star in a sequel to my a cowboys revenge story :) thank you for presenting the facts to the table. As far as him being alive, I have no idea, but I would like to think so.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

carrie,

Thank you for your interesting comment. I too would love it if he were still alive.

Wouldn't you love to interview him by print and video?

And have experts validate his paperwork about his birth and such.

You would be an icon in the literary world.

And carrie, if the two of us, I would love it if that could happen to you.

Peace.

Come back often.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

As a New Mexican I have a soft spot in my heart for Billy the Kid, because unfortunately he is one of the most famous New Mexicans. I believe that the men who arrested and may or may not have eventually killed Billy were for the most part criminals themselves who were sometimes deputized into sheriff duties depending on which faction was in power at the time. Most of your famous lawmen of the West fell into this mold, and Pat Garrett was one of them. Great hub.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Mel,

Thank you so much for the interesting comment.

I have to agree with your viewpoint on the lawmen being out to get Billy to make a name for themselves. I do not buy into all of the "nice" lawmen stories, but yours makes sense.

Thanks too for the following. I needed it and I appreciate it too.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain

I have a soft spot for Billy the Kid too, even Brits have heard of Billy. Most of my generation, born in the late 1940s were brought up on Cowboy films at the local cinemas. Back then, we had no television, but we had comics and the cinema both of which heavily featured cowboy stories.

Some years ago while on holiday in the USA, my husband decided to make a detour to what was billed as the real grave of Billy the kid. It was an experience that I wrote a hub about. I have fond memories of our visit to his grave, though opinions differ as to whether or not the grave is indeed the authentic one. I for one do not care, I enjoyed the experience of going out into the sticks, miles away from anywhere and searching the site out lol...

Thank you for another interesting hub and for the quirky look at Billy the Kid. Voting up as I go and hitting the relevant buttons on my way out :D


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

maggs,

Thank you, but sometimes I get that urge to get away from the accepted serious viewpoint and celebrate the icon's sense of humor, and Billy, it was said, had a wicked sense of humor. He loved to laugh and that isn't a bad thing.

Oh when you visited is grace, were you tempted to go the philosophical route or just be first-person and express how delighted you were to be at that place at that time?

I would have loved to been there with you.

Take care and keep in touch.


Darla Dollman 2 years ago

Have you been to Lincoln County? It is remarkably well-preserved and as a fan of Billy the Kid I think you would enjoy the visit. As for his love of Spanish ladies, in Lincoln County they believe he had a love for the Mexican residents because they accepted him unconditionally and treated him as an equal. I enjoyed your article. It's fun!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

My Dear Darla,

I wish I had better words than 'thank you,' to express to you just how much that I appreciate your comment.

I have always been a fan of Billy. And I would love to travel to Lincoln County, but I have Fibromyalgia and Neurothopy, both are incurable and long rides torment my body more than just sitting still.

I take medicines 365 and twice a day for the rest of my life.

I was diagnosed with these disease in 2003 and I face panic attacks, depression, and thanks to Our Almighty God, and friends like YOU, I can have good days.

I know better than to complain when there are so many other people suffering in our world.

But thanks for the nice invitation.

And who knows? One day someone will find a cure and on a plane I will get, but not before contacting YOU first.

Deal?


Darla Dollman 2 years ago

More than a deal--I am struggling with a similar health situation. Writing has become a huge part of my life. When I do travel it is in the Southwest, exploring ghost towns and old mining towns, but I know what you mean. Travel is difficult if not impossible with Fibro and especially panic attacks. I am in Colorado now, but visited Lincoln County a few times and felt as if I was walking through history. They also have a fantastic museum there. I'm in the Colorado mountains now--equally exciting history and you are welcome to visit any time.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Darla,

Great. More than a deal is fine with me.

Ghost towns and mining towns and abandoned houses are right up my alley.

Where in live in northwest Alabama, Hamilton, a small town, we have lots of old deserted homes in the rural part of our country.

You know that with the use of a metal detector, you could, with permission, find coins, jewelry, etc., around these old home places for most of the homes had floors of wood and with cracks before the owners were prosperous enough to buy rugs.

A lot of change and jewelry must have fallen through the cracks over the years or thrown through the cracks by toddlers.

Am I nuts for having this idea?


Sanxuary 2 years ago

Some of the old criminals have good reason to be admired. The best shooters never put on television were after the Civil War. There are at-least ten good stories that make Tombstone look like nothing to include Indians who won fighting both sides during the Civil War and who eventually got paid off just to disappear. The Criminals during the Great Depression who were admired by the General Public and seen as fighting the Rich Man were pretty unique as well. Several groups used willing hostages to escape and only went wrong when they killed someone innocent. Entire towns saw them as hero's and often offered them safety. We have yet to see the truth in a movie in portraying them for what they really were. Most are only remembered for how they finished and their biggest mistake was including actual real criminals or radicals who wanted blood and did not care who's.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Sanxuary,

I have to agree with your comment. I wonder who to write or call and see how tough it would be to get a "truthful" documentary about these iconic men you are talking about.

I am serious. It is now high time for such a film to be made public. And to air all of the untold GOOD things that these men did instead of JUST displaying their character flaws which we all have.

Thanks for your comment. Stay in touch with me.


Darla Dollman 2 years ago

Kenneth, I like your idea of exploring the cracks and crevices in old house. My grandchildren were over this weekend and found a mysterious note wadded up and stuck in the door lock when they were trying to figure out why the door wouldn't lock completely. It has the vin number of a truck and a collection of notes that do not make any sense to us, which made it even more fun!

Sanxuary, I think revisionist history is important. Sometimes it disgusts me to think of the stories I was told in school about our founding fathers, and I've always felt irritated when watching vintage Westerns where the Native American Indians were played by Italians. This was one of the reasons Pernell Roberts left Bonanza--his ongoing argument that Native American actors should play these roles on the show.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Darla,

Wow! What finally happened about the notes? You have me hooked now, so you cannot stop here.

I love things like this and if I live, I am going to purchase a good model of metal detector and see what I can find.

Two or three great finds and I can sell them to a pawn shop and bam! Not laboring to write endless hubs to get to their pay-out.


Darla Dollman 2 years ago

I write for the love of writing. I've wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. I find little notes like this all the time. When I was a child, the woman who lived across the street found out I wanted to be a writer so she let me practice interviewing her. She came to Colorado with her family in a covered wagon. When she died, she left me her book collection, but her brother took most of them. It doesn't matter--I love what I have from her. When I open a book I find a news clipping from when her baby brother locked himself in the garage shortly after the Lindenburgh kidnapping and someone started a rumor that a German man was seen with the baby and the whole town was searching for a kidnapper while the child sat in the garage and played on the floor. I open another book and a collection of four leaf clovers falls out. Then I start imagining why they are there, what happened with these people, do a little research, and come up with ideas for articles. I love the way Hubs look and how we can design them to work with the topic. I'm having great fun!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Darla,

Thanks for your exciting comment. I to love to write as you do, but to be totally frank, it seems the more I write, it takes HP longer to send my pay. I am not saying money is the ONLY reason I write, but it sure helps.

And Darla, you are certainly in a great position having those books from your friend from Colorado. In fact, you have a goldmine of ideas and inspiration.

I am going to dig deep into my well of ideas and see what new, abstract themes I can come up with.

Thank you for taking time to talk to me.


Darla Dollman 2 years ago

Thank you!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Darla,

I love your name. Sounds like an author's name. Or you can change it to, Darla Doll. That name means power, influence and world-acclaim.

I never told you that I like to prophecy for my good friends.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 13 months ago from Queensland Australia

An interesting article and look at the life of Billy the Kid and why you liked him, Kenneth. Many outlaws became cult heroes...as in Ned Kelly in my own country.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 13 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Jodah,

Mick Jagger in the late 60's did a movie about Kelly with Jagger doing that role, but I do not recall how well it fared.

Honestly, I would have loved to interviewed Billy or Frank and Jesse in a relaxed atmosphere with several cups of coffee.

I cannot tell you if interviewing these cult icons would thrill me more or the monies I would make from selling the story?

Thanks, Jodah, my friend for the comment. Visit me anytime.

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