Tuesday, July 14, 2015


7/14/1881 - One of the most famous deaths in Wild West history takes place when William Henry McCarty, Jr., also known as William Antrim, receives a fatal slug in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.  Huh?  Never heard of him you might be saying in confusion ... well, 21-year-old dead William is better known by his outlaw moniker ... the one and only, Billy the Kid.
Billy the Kid corrected.jpg Billy

In hiding after his escape from a Lincoln, New Mexico jail (in which he killed his two guards, Deputies James Bell and Robert Ollinger, on April 9th of 1881), Billy the Kid makes the fatal mistake of seeking a late night steak dinner after having sex with his longtime sweetheart, Celsa Gutierrez (instead of doing the wise thing and fleeing to the safety of Mexico).
 Ollinger gets blasted

Entering the Fort Sumner home of Peter Maxwell at around midnight to obtain the key to his friend's meathouse, hatless, wearing socks, and carrying a butcher kife with his six-gun in his waistband, the Kid has the misfortune to enter a dark room in which Sheriff Pat Garrett is in the very process of questioning Maxwell about Mr. Bonney's whereabouts.  
 Sheriff Pat Garrett

Alert to possible danger of a shadowy figure in the room, Billy calls out "Quien es?" twice, his last words, for Garrett, recognizing the voice of his former drinking buddy, and knowing the lethal speed of the Kid's draw, lets loose immediately with two shots from his weapon before running out of the room.  One slug all that is necessary, a hot round from Garrett's .45 finds its target in the center of Billy's chest, just above his heart, and the outlaw dies instantly ... and a legend is born.
 Tombstone at Fort Sumner

Mission accomplished, Garrett allows Billy's body to be taken by friends to a nearby carpenter's shop ... where a box for the Kid is prepared and a wake is given celebrating the popular outlaw's life ... all twenty-one years of it.  
 Dime Novel Billy

Glad to be rid of a menace to the region he patrols, 31-year-old Garrett finds the notoriety that comes from questions about the manner of the bandit's death extremely unpleasant ...  over the years he will lose numerous elections for a variety of law enforcement positions, eventually becoming a rancher.  And it is while ranching in 1908 that the law man gets gunned down himself under mysterious circumstances involving debts, goats grazing on his property, and the presence of western hitman Jim "The Killer" Miller in the neighborhood.  No one knows for sure who gets Garrett, but whoever takes him out, they make sure that the shooting is final ... pumping fatal doses of lead into his stomach and head.  He outlives Billy by 26 years.

Vigilante justice for Miller and associates (Miller is far left in black hat)

Rest in Peace, Billy!

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