You don’t have to be a Wild West stories’ fan to recognize Billy the Kid.
From Hollywood movies to comic books that tell his story, Billy the Kid is definitely one of the most famous outlaws that North America has ever produced.
Even though there is little information about his early childhood, his escapades and misbehavior have never been forgotten. In fact, it was Sheriff Pat Garrett, (the Sheriff behind Billy the Kid’s death) who managed to create the legend that surrounds Billy the Kid up until these days.
Continue reading and discover these 7 very interesting facts about Billy the Kid that you may not know yet.
Interesting Billy the Kid’s Facts that you probably didn’t know
1. All about Billy the Kid’s past
There isn’t a lot of the available information about Billy the Kid’s early days. However, it is known that he was born on November 23, 1859, in New York City.
His real name, however, is William Henry McCarty Jr. but he adopted the pseudonym of Billy the Kid after he stole for the first time, an interesting fact about Billy the Kid.
Many historians have argued that his father either died or left his family behind when the Kid was only a little boy, and he then tragically lost his mother at the age of 15 when she suddenly died of tuberculosis.
It was only a matter of time before Billy the Kid and his brother were involved in petty crimes in order to survive their youth, as they didn’t have many relatives left that would take care of them.
2. Billy the Kid’s first arrest was really exciting back then
It was back in 1875 when Billy the Kid had his first confrontation with the law. Apparently, this happened alongside another notorious man called ‘’Sombrero Jack’’ (who was another well-known fugitive).
Billy the Kid and Sombrero Jack robbed a Chinese laundry and clothing shop.
And even though Billy the Kid only received a minor sentence, he still decided to escape the jailhouse by going up a chimney and forcing his way out. Some people would have simply escaped and start a new life free of dangerous crimes, but this wasn’t the case with the Kid.
3. Everything went worse after Billy the Kid’s first arrest
In fact, Billy the Kid then fled the town where he was first arrested and started travelling really far away. He became a gambler and a gang member with several other individuals who were also wanted by the sheriffs.
It has been said that during this time he also became really good at handling a Winchester rifle and Colt revolver, which, in turn, led him to commit another crime and homicide in 1877, which was when he killed his first man.
History says that the two men were having an argument in an Arizona bar, and they decided to take this fight outside, in the middle of the day. Billy the Kid shot his gun, and he immediately became recognized, and of course, wanted by the Sheriffs.
4. Billy the Kid’s looks caught a lot of attention
In the only two photographs that the public has seen, Billy the Kid is shown to have a very slim physique, penetrating blue eyes and wavy blond hair, an interesting fact about Billy the Kid.
But what really gets everybody’s attention is his signature sugar-loaf hat (or sombrero), that had a distinguished decorative band and the way he holds his gun.
5. Billy the Kid was shot by a Sheriff
The Kid was eventually caught and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett, who shot him in the late hours or early hours of the day when it was still very dark.
The story goes like this: Sheriff Garret had been questioning one of Billy’s friend, another fugitive named Peter Maxwell, in his bedroom.
It was only the two of them, but in a twist of events, Billy entered the room and was asking who the other person was as he didn’t recognize the Sheriff.
Instead of running away, Billy the Kid stayed there waiting for a reply and it was then when the Sheriff shot him with his revolver, and immediately hit Billy’s heart.
Billy the Kid died when he was only 21 years old. He was buried in a plot between two other of his friends.
6. Billy the Kid has inspired many filmmakers
In fact, he has been portrayed in more than 50 Hollywood movies, a really cool fact about Billy the Kid.
He has been shown as having a volatile temperament. This means that one minute he could be all charming, gracious and polite, and the next minute he would be outraged by something and be violent towards others.
All of these movies have definitely helped Billy the Kid to be a legend. The first film was shot in 1911, and his popularity only grew and expanded from there onwards.
Some of the actors who have portrayed Billy the Kid have been Emilio Estevez, Val Kilmer, Roy Rogers and Paul Newman.
7. Billy the Kid’s photographs can sell really well
The international market was recently caught by a storm when a rare – and unseen- photo of Billy the Kid, a notorious outlaw, resurfaced. Specialists in the field have said that the photograph could cost up to $1 million USD, an astonishing fact about Billy the Kid.
But what makes this image so special? Well, it is the second confirmed photograph of this famous man. It was taken around 1877 and it shows him playing cards with some friends or even gang members.
In fact, some specialists on this subject have now confirmed that the other three men were Henry Brown, Fred Waite and Richard Brewer, some of the most wanted fugitives during those times.
After reading this now you may know why Billy the Kid was – and continues to be- the most famous thief and gunfighter that North America has ever seen.
His exploits have been well-documented and they always seem to get everybody’s attention as his personal story is very fascinating.
It can be said that Billy the Kid is definitely one of the Old West’s favourite outlaws and, what’s more, one of the most notorious gunfighters the American West has ever seen.
I hope that this article on Billy the Kid facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Page!