Bob Olinger and James Bell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Bob Olinger and James Bell were the two guards for Billy the Kid after his capture. After Pat Garrett, assigned to capture Billy the Kid, got the Kid into custody two guards were assigned for watch. Bell reportedly showed the Kid respect and "never, by word or action, did he betray his prejudice if it existed".[1] Olinger reportedly treated the Kid badly. Olinger's favorite weapon and tool of choice when tormenting the Kid was his double-barreled shotgun. He had loaded it with 18 buckshot and was overconfident in his abilities as a guard.

On April 28, 1881, Olinger left the prison for lunch, leaving his shotgun, and and the Kid in Bell's custody. Billy got a gun somehow and shot Bell dead. The Kid later claimed he never wanted to kill Bell but the other man stood in the way of his escape. Olinger heard the shot and came running. Billy had taken his time to fetch Olinger's shotgun, position himself at the window overlooking the courtyard, and prepare for Olinger's arrival.

When Olinger got there he was told "Bob, the Kid has killed Bell" and Olinger's response to this was "yes, and he's killed me too". [clarification needed] At this point, the Kid emptied the gun into Olinger's, fatally wounding him. The site of these killings is preserved in Lincoln County with the hole in the wall where Bell was shot on display as well as a plaque where Olinger was gunned down.


  1. ^ Utley, Robert Marshall. Billy the Kid: a Short and Violent Life. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1991.