Talk:Billy the Kid

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Vandalism, page protection[edit]

This article has been semi-protected for one month in response to my request, due to a large number of vandalism edits in the last month. — Loadmaster (talk) 21:18, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Bot report : Found duplicate references ![edit]

In the last revision I edited, I found duplicate named references, i.e. references sharing the same name, but not having the same content. Please check them, as I am not able to fix them automatically :)

  • "eulogy" :
    • {{cite web | url = | title = Eulogy | publisher = | accessdate = 2008-08-04}}
    • [ New Page 1<!-- Bot generated title -->]

DumZiBoT (talk) 17:50, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Flopped image[edit]

The tintype image of Billy the Kid used in this article is a flopped image — reversed on the vertical axis. Why are we doing this? If we know it is reversed, with modern digital editing tools we can correct the error in a few minutes. It's a small image, and the original reversed can and should be left in place, since it is being used as an example in Flopped image. —QuicksilverT @ 19:08, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Issue resolved. I went ahead and created a corrected image from the original on Wikimedia commons, and linked to it in the article. If we perceive errors in source material, Wikipedia should set the record straight while noting the correction, instead of confusing readers and perpetuating misperceptions. —QuicksilverT @ 19:38, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
Actually, this is one of those rare cases where it is more appropriate to use the image as it is. It's not uploaded/digitized in error as a flopped image, it has historical notability as such, because it led to him being regarded as left-handed, leading to film depictions of him as a southpaw. If it needs to be clarified in the article, then that's one thing, but to arbitrarily reverse it degrades its historical significance. Wildhartlivie (talk) 20:41, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

The historical significance is exactly the point of showing the image accurately. In this case, right here on Wiki if no where else the myth needs to be quashed. It is known that the picture lead to the improper characterisation of Billy as a left hander. Hasn't the FALSE information already gone on long enough. If we know that people have generally not bothered to investigate claims on their own for over a century, why in the world would we seek to continue the misinforming of the masses here? In this case, because of the fact that the tin type lead to people having the wrong conclusion, we need to make sure that historical accuracy is met. MephYazata (talk) 01:18, 21 March 2009 (UTC)Meph YazataMephYazata (talk) 01:18, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

What the hell is wrong with you all? Print *both versions*, for God's sake! This is not an 'either/or' issue, is it...?!? The internet means *we can show both pictures*... Just put the familiar version in a convenient place, and put *the correct version below it*! *Strewth!!* Pfistermeister (talk) 03:44, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
Why is it that anyone need take a confrontational stance here. I guess no one bothered to look and see that article already contains the non-reversed image or discusses it before posting about it. Just for clarity's sake:
  • MephYazata was replying to a 3 month-old discussion.
  • The article has had the reverse and the non-reversed in it for months.
  • The article discusses the misconception that Billy the Kid was lefthanded.
Is there a reason why anyone would need to go off about it now? Wildhartlivie (talk) 07:29, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

If they paid attention to what I was saying I was making a comment about more than this specific issue. So why don't you two remember that this is for discussion for people other than you two, which means that we will read and answer as we decide. Not based upon when you happened to take an interest in topics you like. MephYazata (talk) 15:44, 21 March 2009 (UTC)Meph YazataMephYazata (talk) 15:44, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I would advise you to revise your posting and remove the personal attacks right away. Just as I said in response to the posting by Pfistermeister, there is nothing whatsoever civil nor appropriate in what you have just posted. I am the one who posted about not being confrontational in posting here, and objected to it. I didn't post anything excluding anyone nor did I post anything ranting and bitching about anything. And for clarification, MephYazata, I didn't just discover this page, I've been editing on it a lot longer than since March 4, when you made your first Wikipedia edit. I've been editing on this page for months now, and I've edit on more than 4 pages. I suggest you familiarize yourself with Wikipedia rules on behavior and talk page posting, because your post above ain't it. Wildhartlivie (talk) 16:02, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

There I removed the "attacks" because I'll give you that, but you side stepped my earlier statement. I was making a statement about more than one article and how we need to continue to check and correct accuracy so that the decades of misconceptions does not happen again. This was a response to you talking about how I am commenting 3 months later. If you paid attention, your editing for months means absolutely nothing as I stated. I don't care you if invented the program, you are neither perfect nor do I base my life or what and when I read upon following what you do when you do it. By your rule any event that exceeds more than a couple months is therefore something one cannot have an opinion on? You did not even bother to actually understand what I was saying, you simply took specific wording and phrasing as you liked and made use of it in your reply. This is pretty much the definition of biased journalism. If you want to correct me about confrontational language I use than fine, I accept it, but don't give try to brow beat me with the fact that your have edited for months. It doesn't matter in the least. I've probably read more articles than you, but I neither have the time nor inclination at this point in my life to spend my time nitpicking. I came upon the discussion when I came upon it. If you don't want me adding to the discussion, than don't use a public forum. How about we save the little ego battles between us and everyone else and continue to promote the accurate sharing of information that this site is for. Does that work for you?MephYazata (talk) 16:42, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Because you've remove the outright attacks doesn't take away from the fact that your follow-up posting is any less civil. I didn't sidestep anything. You posted a response to a discussion from 3 months ago. I didn't reply to you because I had nothing to say in response. I agree that articles should cover historic misperceptions, it didn't need to be restated. My reply was to Pfistermeister, because he went off as if we were currently arguing over something. I was reminding him that you were responding to a 3 month old discussion, and then I went on to say that both images have been on the article page for a long time, as well as a discussion about right vs. left handed. That's all I said. I said nothing to you until you posted your attack, at which time I responded to what you said. You are being defensive for absolutely no reason. Your response being 3 months later is a fact, that's all it means. No one at any time said anything about whether you have the right to post a response, no one at any time said anything to contrary. There are no little ego battles going on, except apparently your need to continue a rant that has nothing to do with my reply to Pfistermeister. It's not ego going on here, it's temper and you both exhibited very nice examples of that today. Please stop being confrontational when you clearly didn't understand what I was saying or to whom. Wildhartlivie (talk) 03:18, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Actually you first decided not to understand, second you implied and third, when you start talking about how you edited for oh so long, that is ego talk. But anyways, let's just move on shall we? In that spirit you might have more information on the question I ask below under a new section.MephYazata (talk) 17:25, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Comment. I'm not sure if there is or isn't still a controversy about the flipped photograph, but if there is, the button positions on Billy's vest would surely give it away. Men's shirts, coats and vests sported their buttons on the right and buttonholes on the left, while ladies' blouses were usually reversed. There is a brief history of this in the blouse article.  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  07:26, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

The USA Military Action[edit]

Perhaps it should be noted in the main article that the USA military stationed at Lincoln Township was prevented, via law, to step in and halt hostilities occurring in Lincoln at the time: it was against the law for the Army to engage in law enforcement activities. About 15 years later a law was passed that allowed law enforcement intervention via the USA Army within USA states and territories, but as I recall that law was repealed a few years later. This notation would explain why the Army stationed at Lincoln did nothing officially to stop the killings, even though the squad turned a Howitzer (or I should say Hotchkiss gun) on the Regulators to threaten them. --Desertphile (talk) 02:50, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

The Posse Comitatus act signed on June 18, 1878 prohibits the US military from using law enforcement powers with the United States except on federal property. This is one reason why President Bush had a difficult time using the US Army in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The Coast Guard, as a unit of the Treasury Dept., is usually exempt from this act. It might however be asked why the Army was only able to stop the killing by the Regulators, and not OF the Regulators.

Also, further emphasis might be placed on the role of Col. Dudley. Dudley has just recently been convicted at an Army Court Martial and relieved of his command. He had been defended by the Territorial Attorney General, Thomas B. Catron, who had taken off his government hat and replaced it with his private attorney hat for the Court Martial. Since Catron lost this case for Dudley it might be opined that Catron next contacted his former law partner, Stephen Elkins who was the New Mexico Territorial representative to Congress. Shortly thereafter an order was sent from the President of the United States reinstating Dudley's rank and ordering him to take command of the Army in the Lincoln County area. I find it more than coincidental the the President of the US would take such a personal interest in the career of an officer that he had never met and have that officer assigned to a post that the President had probably never even heard of! Perhaps not so coincidentally, Catron eventually ended up in control of all of Murphy Dolan & Co's assets either through direct ownership or by being the mortgage holder.Gordontaos (talk) 20:32, 10 August 2009 (UTC)


I the UKTV History documentary I just watched there was an interview with the governor of New Mexico who was considering a pardon for Billy the Kid in 2007. What happened to this? johnnybriggs (talk) 11:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

BBC ran the documentary in 2007, but most of the talk of the pardon by Governor Richardson was during the years 2003/2004 when three guys were pushing to dig up his mother's remains in Silver City to get DNA evidence. Looks like that effort died out in 2005 though [1]. By now it's unlikely to happen as Richardson will soon leave New Mexico for a Secretary of Commerce job in the Obama administration. --claygate (talk) 01:04, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Lincoln County War[edit]

In the passage it states that McCarty and Waite were trying to serve Brady with a warrant for the looting of Tunstall's store. In fact,warrants were issued by Justice of the Peace John B. Wilson for Jesse Evans, William Morton, Frank Baker, Thomas Hill, George Hindman and J.J. Dolan as these were the men that Bonney, Brewer and Widenmann identified as the members of the posse that killed Tunstall. Wilson used the basis of the findings of the coroner's jury on the cause of death to Tunstall. Brady indeed prevented and arrested Billy and others, but it was to protect Dolan and the others that were named in the warrants. In fact, when confronted by some prominent town members later, he basically told them that he acted as he did because he can. This is taken from commentary and notations provided by Frederick Nolan in Garrett/Nolan, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, pages 63-65 and pages 88-89. He used depositions records of Wilson and other involved with the coroner's jury. MephYazata (talk) 20:35, 15 March 2009 (UTC)Meph Yazata

Absolutely correct!Gordontaos (talk) 20:02, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

In the first sentence of the second paragraph the writer of this section states that McSween was a "prominent lawyer". The writer gives as his source Wallis', "Billy the Kid", pages 193-196. I can find no reference in those pages to McSween being a "prominent lawyer". However, Frederick Nolan in his book, "The West of Billy the Kid" tells us on page 38 that Tunstall was born in 1853, making him 25 at the time of these events. On page 45 of the same book we find that McSween had only studied law for one term, and had only ever worked in one other location, Eureka, Kansas. Finally we find on page 46 of, "The West of Billy the Kid", that the majority of McSweens income came from debt collection and assisting John Chisum. I think that the word, "prominent", should be struck from this section.--Gordontaos (talk) 00:48, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

In the third sentence of the second paragraph the writer of this section states, " Events turned bloody on February 18, 1878, when an unarmed Tunstall was spotted herding cattle on the open range and murdered". As a source the writer gives Wallis',"Billy the Kid" pages 197-198. However on page 197 of that book Wallis states, "The group drove a herd of nine horses...", nowhere are cattle mentioned in this, or any other account of the event. On page 198 of the same book it says," Tom Hill dismounted, picked up Tunstall's pistol..." it goes on to say,"Hill had Tunstall's revolver, with two chambers empty...".

It appears that the writer of this section got confused and that the word "unarmed" should be deleted and the word "cattle" be changed to horses. --Gordontaos (talk) 01:05, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

In the third paragraph there is a hot link to "Agua Negra". However the Agua Negra that is hot linked is in Mora County, New Mexico. This is most certainly not the Agua Negra that is being written about, and the link should be removed.--Gordontaos (talk) 01:12, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Ongoing DNA battle[edit]

I have found that a local historical group, I don't recall the name, is trying to get the information from the two former police officers. This is at a number of different news sites. The latest info I found on this was that the actual suit had been filed. Has anyone found anything more current on that particular developement? I can only find where the group sued, but I would think somewhere there is at the least a monthly update of this particular case.MephYazata (talk) 17:24, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure exactly which two officers you're referring to unless it is in regard to John Miller. If there's been nothing in the news regarding that, you can probably assume one or two things. One is that the comparison was inconclusive, which makes sense considering they hoped to prove or disprove Miller was Billy the Kid using a possible blood sample of the Kid from over 130 years ago. The trouble is, DNA deteriorates with age, especially in blood samples like that, so they couldn't extract any DNA results from the sample. The other is that it didn't confirm a connection and no one has bothered to say so. Then again, DNA testing is advanced now, but not as advanced as everyone hopes it is. There are still a lot of unknown factors and shortcomings, especially in very aged samples. I don't know which it might have been. What is probably safe to assume is that the Miller thing came up in 2004, so after 5 years, nothing is likely to be forthcoming. The only other thing I know about DNA comparison is that a group had tried to exhume the body of Catherine Antrim in order to do DNA comparisons to the body buried as Billy the Kid. That won't be happening any time soon. Wildhartlivie (talk) 03:17, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. I think you're right about nothing happening soon. It is indeed tied to the John Miller investigation though it seems to have evolved a bit. What I was referring to was that after 2003, the latest I have found was that two men, Scot Stinnett, publisher of the De Baca County News, and Gale Cooper who is an amature historian of some sort filed a lawsuit against the former Lincoln County Sheriff Rick Virden and a former deputy. Supposedly they have the results of the John Miller case and are holding out on releasing the findings on the basis that it was done on their own time and therefore they don't have to share it with anyone. Virden was reported as saying the findings have changed "everything" he thought and that he knows the truth behind the death of Billy the Kid. The two men who filed the suit allege that the investigation was done on the clock so to speak and therefore is a matter of public record. I have hesitated to add this content because although is a developement, it seems to be a rather small one since it still leaves things unresolved. I feel that adding this might just be saying "the investigation continues" or another elaborate way of saying that people don't know the truth which has already been addressed in the article. I found this in an Augu-st 28 2008 article from the Associated Press.MephYazata (talk) 18:01, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

So the former sheriff and his deputy were sued for not releasing the findings. That's a little odd, I think. I'm just speaking aloud here as I'm thinking about it. Surely they aren't obligated to release their results if they paid for it themselves. Anyway... I'm not sure that it can be added without good documentation because all of the "ifs" about it are basically speculation. There isn't anything conclusive to say, although it is interesting. Maybe they're writing a book? Virden might have thought Billy's DNA was in Miller's grave and found out he wasn't - which wouldn't necessarily prove Billy didn't die as he was alleged. On the other hand, maybe they found out Billy's DNA does match Miller's, which would prove the Kid wasn't killed as alleged. The thing, though, is that the article used as a reference about John Miller gives a different name to the sheriff and also says the sheriff and his deputy were also the same people who weren't successful in exhuming the body in the Kid's grave. So part of the story seems to be missing here. The reference article has a lot more in it than is covered here - they aren't even sure which body that they dug up was Miller and which was someone else. Read it and see what you think. Wildhartlivie (talk) 23:19, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

That's an interesting article. I was aware of the various difficulities involved with the John Miller case. I also see I mispoke earlier. Virden is the current sheriff and he is the one being called to get the findings from Sullivan and Sederwall who were a sheriff and deputy. Sorry about that. Here is the article I read [2] I was living in Mesa at the time and I remembered the names, but I mixed a bit there. Also, just for the sake of saving people some money, there should be warning to travelers that almost exactly 3 miles from Billy's grave there is a town whose name escapes me, where they have a racket charging people to see a replica of Billy's tombstone and the museum around it. They actually charge people to see replicas of what they could see 3 miles away for real. Crazy is it not? I'm just kidding about making this an actual part of the article, but my best friend wasted his money there about 5 years ago and we still give him crap about it.MephYazata (talk) 06:08, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

I do agree though about the "ifs". That's why I feel it should be added when/if something definitive comes of it, but until then it should wait.MephYazata (talk) 06:10, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

My understanding of the situation is that some time ago there was a flood at the cemetary where Billy is buried. Caskets and bodies were unearthed and mixed up, tombstones were dislodged. It is apparantly impossible to determine where Billy's bones might actually lie.Gordontaos (talk) 20:37, 10 August 2009 (UTC)


Wildhartlivie! Good to see ya! I'm an old BtK fan, and I was a little surprised that the controversial book by Garrett wasn't referenced at the bottom complete with ISBN. So I added it. I'm also going to add another that was fascinating. It was written by a woman who was just a little girl when Billy roamed the NM countryside. Happy editing!  .`^) Painediss`cuss (^`.  06:32, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

No problem whatsoever. This article takes quite a bit of oversight to keep it from getting completely carried away. Thanks for looking in. Wildhartlivie (talk) 07:19, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
The article is in very good shape. Very little tuning needed. What a character Billy was! I believe I would've run with him when I was young. Hah! I would've probably ended up like O'Folliard. <g>  .`^) Painediss`cuss (^`.  01:54, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I will take a little credit for its maintenance, if not all the content. I find these old outlaws quite fascinating, but there are those who try to insert POV. Glad you like it. Wildhartlivie (talk) 02:00, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Billy Joel[edit]

Please excuse my naivety and i know its a very inaccurate story, but why is The Ballad of Billy the Kid, by Billy Joel not in the list of music about Billy the Kid? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:56, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

Have you actually read the lyrics to that song? It is only tangentially about this Billy the Kid, but at the end, Joel is fairly clear that he is referring to himself. The list of music is limited to songs that accurately depict the real life of Billy the Kid, which this song does not do. It ends with the old Kid being hanged. There has to be some cut off point regarding real depictions and the use of the name without accurate historical context. Wildhartlivie (talk) 19:48, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

yeah, that's why i said very inaccurate story, and your tone does not sound like your excusing my naivety. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:33, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

My tone? I'm at a loss as to how you could possibly hear my tone. I explained why it isn't included. Isn't that what you asked? Wildhartlivie (talk) 05:47, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Regardless of tone, naivety or inaccuracy, I am wondering why the list is restricted in such a way? You say that only songs that accurately depict the real life of Billy the Kid, and I wonder why this restriction? While the Joel song is only barely about The Billy the Kid, the influence of the Kid is obviously there or the song may have never been written. Is this not at least an example of The Kid's legacy at work? At the top of the section it reads, "Billy the Kid has been the subject or inspiration for many popular works, including:" so isn't the Joel song an example of The Kid as inspiration?  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  13:17, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Because some time ago, several wikiprojects began trying to limit the indiscriminate trivia that was being stuck into articles, with lists sometimes overwhelming the rest of the entire article. WP:CRIME is one of those. A year ago, the list on this page was in excessive of 60 separate items, many of which only were about Billy the Kid in that it used the name, it had nothing else whatsoever to do with the actual person who is the subject of the article. If people want to spin off a complete article listing each and every instance that the name "Billy the Kid" has popped up in some form of medium, fine. But it becomes trivia when the listing is indiscriminate, and that isn't something that is very supported on Wikipedia. Articles with indiscriminate lists simply will never advance to GA or FA status and there comes a point when it has to be limited in some way. By limiting it to depictions that are specifically about the subject, it allows some modicum of direction. Otherwise, the lists become overburdened with each and every time the article subject is mentioned on The Simpsons or South Park or some other production that eventually gets around to including a mention of everyone. Perhaps the lead sentence in this section should be worded differently, but it's entirely unproductive to allow indiscriminate lists to return. Wildhartlivie (talk) 22:30, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Okay then, if a balance must be struck (and the list is pretty long already), we should alter the section hatnote. "And" is better than "or", so...  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  02:20, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
  • PS. Found a grrreat nav box on the American Old West page, complete with The Kid's name.
That works for me. The list is pretty long already, but I can only find one or two listings that don't fairly much meet the criteria. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is one and perhaps the Maverick episode. Another that was added today which I removed was a Tom Petty song that only relates to Billy the Kid in a line that says "Just like Billy the Kid". It could easily be over 100 items. And P.S. That navbox should be on this page. Wildhartlivie (talk) 02:39, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Wildhartlivie, I disagree. I think it's a conspicuous omission not to see the Billy Joel song listed. Note that the Wikipedia entry on the Billy Joel song makes clear that the song is referring to Billy the Kid and a different Billy from Long Island (in neither case, Billy Joel himself).Ericgoldman (talk) 01:08, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

The article on Billy Joel makes it clear that the song is about a bartender in Oyster Bay. So it's irrelevant to this article. — Loadmaster (talk) 16:13, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
In fact, we don't particularly rely on content in another Wikipedia article to verify or support content. There are no references in The Ballad of Billy the Kid to support the opening paragraphs, including the synthesis of the "historical inaccuracies" in the song, based on the supposition that the song is about this Billy the Kid. There is one small blurb at the end of the article, which is at least referenced, about who the Billy is in the song. I tagged that article for lack of supporting references, synthesis and original research. There is nothing to support that the song is about the Billy the Kid in this article, and because that isn't clear, it falls under the heading of possibly alluding to the subject and not a historical depiction. There are far too many subjects that fall into this category that listing them all overweighs the actual references. Wildhartlivie (talk) 16:49, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Wouldn't it be easier to just put a section in this article explaining how Billy Joel's song does not accurately depict the life of Billy the Kid? People wouldn't try to put the song in the cultural references section since it's already in the article, and if specific inaccuracies of the song are mentioned and "corrected," then it would fit in the article. Just putting in my 2 cents. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:27, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Buster Crabbe[edit]

Here's one that's not mentioned in the article. Thought I'd bring it up here to see if there's consensus to include. From 1941 to 1943, Buster Crabbe (of Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers fame) made a series of BtK films as listed here (scroll down to see them all). Is there any reason why this shouldn't be included in the "Selected references in popular culture/Films" subsection? And if consensus is to include, what's the best way do you think to go about including all those films? (13 of 'em)  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  20:19, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with their inclusion. I think it would probably be best presented in a paragraph form, listing the film and year, such as:
"Buster Crabbe played Billy the Kid in a serial series during 1942 and 1943. The films included Blazing Frontier, The Renegade, Cattle Stampede, Western Cyclone (1943)."
And any other information one might find about the serials. Wildhartlivie (talk) 23:53, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Misic edits[edit]

Wildhartlivie - I replaced the 2 Music refernces which you removed, after adding the song names and a "folk song" description. Is that what you wanted? (I had assumed the names would be obvious!) I added those items because the song has had such a long history, and is a classic piece which has been how many have been introduced to the subject of Billy the Kid. Marariv (talk) 01:30, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Early Life[edit]

"Little is known about McCarty's origins, but most reputable scholars of western history agree that he "was born on the eve of the Civil War in the bowels of an Irish neighborhood in New York City."[9][10]" So starts the first sentence of this section. Hold it Right There! If little is known of his origins, how can most reputable scholars agree on when and where he was born? Don't reputable scholars base their opinions on facts?

Although the above opening opening sentence is virtually a direct quote from "Billy the Kid, The Endless Ride" by Michael Wallis, the writer of this section has chosen to leave out the next important sentence on page 6 of that book; "If, indeed his birthplace was New York, no records that can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he ever lived there have been uncovered."

The latter sentence is actually a quote from page two of Robert Utley's book, "Billy the Kid: a Short and Violent Life", repeated in Wallis' book on the Kid. The writer of this section has also used Utley's book on the Kid to justify his initial statement, even though it contradicts his initial statement. This is very circuitive reasoning, is it not?

The writer of this section also chose to pay no attention to the following statement from page one of Utley's book on the Kid, that is also requoted in Wallis' book on page 6; "Discoveries have been tantalizing suggestive but rarely conclusive".

So, to sum up, Wallis in his book on Billy the Kid makes a statement that two other statements on the same page disprove. The unproven statement is then repeated in this article.

I believe that at best this section of the article can be called false scholarship, at worst plagiarism based upon someone else's poor research.

To add a further expert to the fray I would like to quote Frederick Nolan, who wrote "The West of Billy the Kid". On page 6 of Nolan's book he states: "after having carefully and comprehensively examined the 1860 censuses for New York, Missouri, and Indiana, one comes hesitantly to the conclusion that perhaps the simple, logical, obvious reason no one has been able to find legimate documentation of the birth of Henry McCarty in these records is because he was not born where they were compiled." --Gordontaos (talk) 01:44, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

The remainder of this paragraph is equally indefensible. There is not a single shred of evidence that is supported by scholars to form a basis for who Billy's biological father may have been, where his parents may have come from, who his grandparents might have been, or what his ethnicity was. It might be helpful to note that the chapter title in Wallis' "Billy the Kid" that this information was copied from is called "Once Upon A Time". Furthermore, the next to the last sentence in this chapter states,"None of these secenarios can be confirmed, although many earlier chronicles treat them as fact."

I suggest that this initial paragraph be completely removed. --Gordontaos (talk) 22:07, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Current comments[edit]

I'd have to ask you to put all of your comments in one section instead of posting responses to old posts that are, in some cases, months old. It's quite difficult to track what you are posting, especially considering that some editors, such as myself, have vision deficits that effect tracking. However, overall, my first comment would be that we do not routinely just "strike" sections, but work toward incorporating points from multiple sources. I'm a bit concerned with what seems to be the use of the Nolan book as the authority against which other works are weighed. Before anything is changed, I want to obtain the books from the library in order to check what I cannot through Google books. Wildhartlivie (talk) 01:27, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for your thoroughness. It is just this lack of oversight that has led to this less than credible article. Sorry for the confusion as to where I have been making entries, I will make them right here from now on. I have most of the books on this subject, as well as quite a bit of original archival documentation. I have just found it more expedient to refer to Nolan since he is relatively unbiased and attempts to use quotes from participants where the quotes are less than 40 years after the fact. Utley is extremely biased in his works on Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War and makes alleged statements of fact that are neither backed up by evidence nor his own footnotes. Documentation on this statement forthcoming if you wish.

From the Wikipedia entry on Frederick Nolan: "Considered to be one of the foremost authorities on the life and times of Billy the Kid..." " 2006 the Westerners Foundation named his West of Billy the Kid as one of the 100 most important 20th-century works on the American West..."

I will not diminish Wallis (who is almost universally quoted in this article), by adding quotes from his Wikipedia entry.

I would also point out that as a way of incorporating points from multiple sources, I am quoting Robert Utley, as well as Wallis and Nolan, as to all of them believing that there is not one shred of reliable evidence as to Billy's birth place, birth father, or birth mothers birthplace. Its just that Wallis is all over the map with his suppositions and declarations, changing his conclusions, point of view, and evidence with every sentence.

Just tonight I came across one of Wallis' statements on page 196 of "Billy the Kid". Wallis states that because of financial difficulties that Tunstall sold and mortgaged all of his property to the Attorney General of New Mexico, Thomas Benton Catron. However it was Dolan who sold and mortgaged this property because of financial difficulties, not Tunstall. Thats kind of like confusing the Union Army with the Confederate Army. Dolan being in such dire financial straights, and Catron having such a financial interest in Dolan's success, now gives greater motive to their actions against Tunstall, McSween, and the Regulators. This "innocent little mistake" on Wallis' part comes close to changing the whole story! By the way, Wallis also misquoted in this case. The correct version that Wallis misquoted, but correctly identified in his footnotes, came from page 95 of Frederick Nolan's, "The West of Billy the Kid". --Gordontaos (talk) 02:30, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

I also request that the information that is given under Billy the Kids photo as to his age, birthplace and birth father be changed to read "unknown". Wallis presents some interesting theories about Billies age, some of which argue that he may have actually been three years younger than thought. All sources agree that no one knows his actual birthdate, and that the date that is frequently used was the birth date given him after his death by Pat Garrets ghostwriter, Ash Upson. That birth date also happens to be Upson's. To quote Nolan in his "The West of Billy the Kid",when writing about Billies mother on page 3, "We don't know the name of the man who fathered her sons or even if the same man was father to both. We do not know for certain the year of birth of either son, the places of their birth, which of them was the older, or even their full names."--Gordontaos (talk) 12:49, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

As said earlier, Wallis' book, "Billy the Kid", supports the concept of not knowing Billies age by presenting numerous competing theories as to his true age. I am however loathe to quote from Wallis' most direct supporting statement on the subject because of his source. On page 7 of Wallis's book he gives a fantastic supporting quote from Bob Boze Bell, author of "The Illustrated Life and Times of Billy the Kid" and editor of "True West" Magazine. The problem is that in Boze's book on Billy he does not footnote any of his statements, nor does he have any bibliography whatsoever. He is however a great illustrator. If you have a book full of fine illustrations with unsupported statements you essentially have a fancy comic book. I fault Wallis for his many quotes from this book of Bell's. --Gordontaos (talk) 13:46, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

In the section titled "Lew Wallace and Amnesty", the writer of this article quotes exclusively from Wallis' "Billy the Kid". However the writer leaves out vital information, that is included in Wallis' book on Billy, that is needed to "round out" the story. The writer starts out by stating that"In the Autumn of 1878, a former Union Army general, Lew Wallace, became Governor of the New Mexico Territory.[81]" However, the writer does not state WHY Wallace became the Governor. On the same page of Wallis' book on Billy that is sourced in this quote the writer paid no attention to the fact that the previous Governor, Axtell, was fired and that the Attorney General, Catron, was asked to resign. All of this was a result of the investigation of Special Agent Frank Warner Angel who reported back to the President of the US on the political as well as warlike conditions in New Mexico. The firing of Axtell and Catron was an indictment of the policies that they, as the heads of the New Mexico Territorial Criminal Justice System espoused. This action by the President of the US clearly defines that the policies of the Axtell/Catron administration were viewed by both Angel and the President as detrimental to the citizenry and also clearly can change present perceptions of these events.

In the third sentence of this section the writer states that," Wallace was intrigued by rumors that the young man was willing to surrender himself and testify against other combatants if amnesty could be extended to him.[82". This however, is not what is written in Wallis' book that the writer quotes. What IS written on page 227 of Wallis' book is, "On March 13, 1879 Wallace received the first of several letters from the Kid...The Kid expressed his willingness to testify against those responsible in exchange for a pardon." Billy the Kid writing letters directly to to the Governor of the Territory is substantially different from "The Governor being intrigued by rumors" and should be corrected.

In the next to the last sentence of this paragraph the writer states," True to form, McCarty greeted the governor with a revolver in one hand and a Winchester rifle in the other." I do not understand how the phrase "True to form" can be used since this phrase is not documented in Wallis' book that is sourced for this section and is arguably detrimental to one side with no basis for documentation. I feel that this phrase should be deleted.

In the section titled, "Escape from Lincoln", the writer states that "McCarty was transported from Fort Sumner to Las Vegas, where he spent much of his time giving interviews to reporters.[95]" However, even though Wallis' book is given as the source for this statement, that is not what Wallis says. What Wallis says on page 240 of his book on Billy is that "...the Kid obliged a reporter from the Las Vegas Gazette with a jailhouse interview." This is substantially different from spending "much of his time giving interviews to reporters" and should be changed accordingly.

In the final paragraph of this section the writer states that, "The townsfolk supposedly gave him an hour that he used to remove his leg iron. The hour was reportedly granted in appreciation for his work as part of "The Regulators"." I can find no reference in the source given for this statement (Wallis, (2007) page 244) that says that he was given this time based upon his work as part of the Regulators and this phrase should be removed. Also, as an aside, "leg iron" should be changed to "leg irons".

In the section titled "Notoriety, fact vs. reputation", the writer states, "In this sense, the Lincoln County War was a microcosm of the struggle of New Mexico's established Hispanic ranching communities to hold onto their lands in the face of the encroachments of northern Republican carpetbaggers such as Dolan, Fritz, Martin, Murphy and other corrupt members of the faction called "The House". This post-war struggle between Anglo-American newcomers and ancestral Hispanic ranchers divides New Mexico to this day along the old Republican-Democrat lines.[citation needed]" I would really like to see ANY documentation to back up these two sentences. First, the fight was between two Anglo factions not Anglo vs. Spanish. Second, lets see some documentation about the "post war struggle" that divides New Mexico today along Republican-Democrat lines. Until these two statements can be proven they should be removed.--Gordontaos (talk) 05:37, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

WikiProject Serial Killer Task Force[edit]

The Billy the Kid discussion page is part of the WikiProject Serial Killer Task Force. According to the information on their Wikipedia page the Task Foce is a group working to build a "comprehensive and detailed guide on serial killers, mass murders, spree killers and related topics on Wikipedia."

The Wikipedia article on serial killers states that, "A serial killer is a person who murders three or more people over a period of more than 30 days, with a 'cooling off' period between each murder, and whose motivation for killing is largely based on psychological gratification." The Wikipedia article on spree killers states that, " A spree killer, also known as a rampage killer, is someone who embarks on a murderous assault on his or her victims (two or more) in a short time in multiple locations" The Wikipedia article on mass murder states that,"The term "mass murder" refers to the killing of four or more people during a particular event."

I do not feel that Billy the Kid meets any definition of a serial killer, mass murderer or spree killer. I do not believe that any persons that he regularly associated with meet that definition either. However, the actions of Sheriff Copeland and his posse, as well as the inaction of Col. Dudley, might just fit in the category of mass murders. Copeland's posse killed Alexander McSween, Francisco Zamora, Vincente Romero,and Harvey Morris while under the gaze and protection of the US Army commanded by Dudley. That's "four people during a particular event". So the question is, why is Billy included in this list/group of mass murderers, spree killers, and serial killers?--Gordontaos (talk) 19:28, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

It's not easy to pigeon-hole The Kid with all the ifs, ands or buts about his life. At one time he was deputized as a "Regulator" to capture and bring to justice the murderers of John Tunstall. At one time Pat Garrett was believed to be an outlaw before he was made Sheriff. Yet Garrett goes down in history as a law officer and The Kid is pigeon-holed as an outlaw. Perhaps historians, as well as most people, still prefer the dramatics of extreme polarization when they read about the Old West. But as you and I know, the line between the law and the outlaw was not always drawn so distinctly back then. So it's very difficult, perhaps impossible, to be historically correct in these cases. This, above all, ought to be made clear in all the articles about the rugged Old West.
 —  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  05:50, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
The interest of the task force has nothing to do with actually categorizing anyone the project takes an interest in and it isn't definitional. The project doesn't make classifications and the article isn't included in any categories reflecting serial killers, mass murderers or spree killers, nor does the page use infoboxes used for such persons. In fact, the interest is mainly based from the "related topics", which includes persons considered "outlaws". Any wikiproject can express an interest in an article for a variety of reasons and is in no way considered definitional in relationship to the project name. It's kind of like saying Billy the Kid wasn't a firearm either, but that project takes an interest in the article. Wildhartlivie (talk) 06:35, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Is Wikipedia even attempting to be objective, on target, and impartial? Does not putting a person in a category "categorize" them? I honestly do not see how an impartial source can include Billy the Kid in a category with such an inflamatory title withjout denigrating him and swaying public opinion about him in a negative manner. Billy the Kid used firearms, Billy the Kid lived in New Mexico, and Billy the Kid was involved with crimes, which is why I did not mention changing those three categories. Perhaps the task force should narrow their definition of what "related topics" are. Perhaps the task force should look at the facts surrounding an individual prior to "expressing an interst" in them. To include Billy the Kid in this category is just wrong. To stretch the fact of including "outlaws" in this category is also just wrong.--Gordontaos (talk) 15:42, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Look at the lead:
Now compare this with the definition you cited for a "serial killer":
Forgive me, Gordontaos, I just don't see the problem.
 —  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  16:24, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

The problem is, none of the killings were motivated by psychological gratification, so the definition of a serial killer does not hold. As a boy he killed one man who was beating him up (the man was older, larger, and sitting on his chest), two guards in a jail break (while he was waiting to be hanged after being wrongfully convicted of a murder that he did not commit), and one man in a bar altercation (who allegedly drew on him from behind). Thats all. Any other killings attributed to him are mere supposition. So, just because the lead starts out with legend, and moves to supposition prior to the truth finally coming out, does not mean that we should give any credence to the legend and supposition portion.

This is what I am trying to get at. By even allowing Billy to be placed in the serial killer category it poisons peoples minds away from the truth. People will imagine that if he is in that category, it must be true. By allowing legend and supposition to be printed, and given credence by Wikipedia allowing it, people will also believe that at least some portion of the legend or supposition is true. And that Paine_Ellsworth is just not what history is about. Fairy Tales are about legend and supposition, History is (or should be) about facts.--Gordontaos (talk) 21:08, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Let me reiterate. Because a Wikiproject takes an interest in an article has no bearing on how that article is actually categorized. Wikiprojects are work groups on Wikipedia only that may encompass any number of articles for any number of reasons that cast no reflection on the article subject. Those templates are on the talk page, they don't dictate categorization or anything else other than simple interest. The serial killer task force has an interest in articles that would be considered "outlaws". It's that simple and has nothing to do with who or what someone is. See WP:Categories for an explanation of what and how things are categorized. If you look on the main article page at the very bottom, you will see the specific categories that are assigned to this article, which includes Americans convicted of murder, Outlaws of the American Old West, People from New Mexico, Gunmen of the American Old West, Americans convicted of murdering police officers, American folklore, Deaths by firearm in New Mexico. There are no serial killer, mass murderer, spree killer or other similar categories except for the outlaw category. I had given the example of WP:Firearms, the scope given for which is "Firearms in general, manufacturers, organizations, legislation, and the like." Billy the Kid doesn't fall into any of that except for perhaps "the like". It doesn't negate the project interest in him and doesn't imply that anyone thinks he was a firearm, manufacturer, organization or legislation. A similar example would be from Wikipedia:WikiProject LGBT studies. That template appears on talk pages for a variety of biographies, especially actor and musician articles for reasons other than whether the person is or was lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual, such as on Bette Davis. That project takes an interest in those articles, one reason because of the symbolism the person holds. Billy the Kid was a convicted killer, he holds a certain amount of symbolism for his exploits which fall into the wider interest of the serial killer project of outlaws. It has no meaning other than that a work group takes an interest in the article. It isn't categorization in any way. It isn't acceptable for you challenge in what articles a work group takes an interest because you don't see the difference between work group interests and whether something is being categorized because of an interest. Wildhartlivie (talk) 21:35, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

OK. So, if I was confused, and if possibly Paine_Ellsworth was confused, might not the public at large also be confused? It took quite a lot of explaining on your part to finally get the information through my not so thick skull. I feel certain that there is no answer to the question that I am about to pose, but I will pose it anyway; What percentage of people who look at this talk page, and see that the Serial Killer Task Force has an interest in Billy the Kid, ASSUME that he is a serial killer?--Gordontaos (talk) 23:19, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

While we are on the subject of the specific categories that are assigned to this article, we might want to consider removing the "1859 Births", "People from Manhattan" and the "People from New York City " categories based upon my previous documented and multisourced comments.I now notice that you left those categories out of your description in your excellent response to my concerns,and I thank you for your sensitivity to my concerns.--Gordontaos (talk) 23:32, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Actually, I don't think Paine was confused, I think he was just trying to present his comment in a way that helped explain. That this has never come up before doesn't make me think a lot of people are confused by it, and actually, not a lot of people look at this page (I could give you page view stats for that). I know that a lot of editors aren't crazy about the actual name of the project, but I don't see it changing soon. The Kid was a multiple murderer, for whatever reasons they occurred, and that may be another clear explanation of the reasons the project has an interest, besides the symbolism he, Jesse James, and a few others carry. I have to embarrassedly admit I didn't omit those categories out of sensitivity, but because I was just picking the categories that seemed most relevant to what I was trying to say, and I've removed Irish Americans from that because it didn't much seem necessary. I don't think there was a clear name to come up with for that project when it was created, but its interest has to do with people generally thought of as killers as some kind. I'm a member of that task force based on one of my (widely varied) interests, but I had nothing to do with its creation. Wildhartlivie (talk) 00:28, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Thank you. My only interest is to attempt to begin to seperate fact from fiction. Its almost like the affirmitive action program where the government decided that society needed to make up for past transgressions and perhaps went overboard for a while. Billy has been so maligned for so long that very, very few people are aware of the true facts of the situation. I am obviously attempting in my own small way to set the record straight. Billy certainly was not an angel, but he was just as certainly not the serial killer that many believe he is. So, to get back on topic... the lead states: Henry McCarty (November 23, 1859[1]. The source given is "", "Early Life". The first paragraph of that article starts with, "William Henry Bonney or “Billy the Kid,” as he is commonly known, left no record of his place of birth and date." In the second paragraph of that article it states that, " he may have been born in 1860-61, making his age of death nineteen or twenty.". So yet again, I must respectfully request that his birth date and place of birth be changed to "unknown", based upon the actual information obtained from the writers source.--Gordontaos (talk) 02:39, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

In the section, "Notoriety, fact v.s fiction", the writer states that, "While McCarty was credited with the killing of no less than 20 men, the actual number was much closer to four.[2]" This statement contradicts the same writers statement made in the lead of the story that, "According to legend, he killed 21 men, one for each year of his life, but he most likely participated in the killing of fewer than half that number,[2]". Since the same source is used for both statements, I request for this additional reason that the lead of the story be changed to remove the phrase,"but he most likely participated in the killing of fewer than half that number,[2]", since it is misleading in the context of that sentence.--Gordontaos (talk) 19:49, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Gordon, this is Paine... There is no doubt in my mind that you are correct, and that a certain number/percentage of people may view the Kid in a worse light than historically factual due to the nature of the name of the project. The example of Bette Davis that editor Wildhartlivie gave, where the project concerning gays is bannered on her Talk page, probably leaves a certain number/percentage of her readers scratching their heads and not "getting" that it was more about the symbolism Davis holds. The Kid also held and still holds a powerful symbolism regarding his nature as a murderer, so this, rather than historical fact, may motivate such projects. It might very well be that after further study, the task force may remove the Kid from their list. If readers get confused by such things, or by using questionable facts in the article, then it is up to editors like us to find ways to explain such things. This is done "encyclopedically" by presenting the history, including the symbolism, in as neutral a manner as possible.
I am getting the idea that you feel that huge sections of text ought to be omitted because their factuality is in question. If this is true, then I submit to you that if this is done for Billy's article and related articles, they will be left as stubs, and will contain very little useful information. So rather than sift out the questionable facts, wouldn't it be better to challenge them by systematically citing the opposing conclusions of another historian(s)? If kept precisely worded, such a practice can only improve this encyclopedia.
I may be wrong, but I believe that whoever said that "history is written by the people who are in power" is correct. Look who was in power in New Mexico during that period, and then look who gets labeled as a "good guy" or a "bad guy". If one opposed those in power, then one was ultimately a bad guy, so the Kid was a bad guy. To me, this means that even if you were to carve this article down to a stub, so that only historical FACT ruled the article, such facts might still be subject to invalidation simply because they are moreso based upon what the people in power wanted posterity to believe, than on what actually did happen.
I have studied history for most of my life, and there is hardly ever a moment in history that isn't "tricky" inasmuch as factuality is concerned. In this day of instant news coverage and the almost immediate recording of events by such references as our Wikipedia, the history of these days will be called into question to a lesser degree than in the days of news taking weeks, sometimes months, to be shared by the world. When one hears about something immediately after it happened, it may have more impact than something one hears about that happened weeks or months ago. A good example would be the public feelings about WWII as opposed to feelings about Korea and Vietnam. News traveled fast during the Korean war, and even faster during the US participation in Vietnam, so the appalling impact of the detailed account of a My Lai incident upon the public was far greater than the bit of news received from Europe about anything similar to My Lai during WWII. The former was more of a "now" happening, while the latter was more like "old news". The point is that it was much easier in the past to "fudge" the history books, and the farther back in time one goes, the more likely this "fudging", by those in power, may have been more and more effective and impacting.
We may never know the real facts, because we cannot travel back in time to actually "be there". Since we must rely upon what may be an historian's "best guess", e.g. the birth date example you gave above, then yes, the date ought to be included along with an explanation about its perhaps very low level of credibility. I appreciate your stated interest to separate fact from fiction, and I also agree that the Kid has been maligned by some a great deal more than he may have deserved. There is always room to believe that he only killed four people, and yet there will also always be room to believe that he killed many more than four. When the four he killed are studied with an eye toward whether or not they deserved their fate, it would seem to me that the Kid only killed when he felt he absolutely had to. Usually. But the fact remains that he was probably quite the cold-blooded killer, and who knows how many men may have fallen, and for what reasons, under the gun of a youthful, precocious Billy who, for much of his young life, rode with some of the worst influences, the most dangerous of men. We can never know for certain; we will never know the true facts, only the "historical" ones.
 —  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  21:26, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Actually, if you look at my comments that are sprinkled throughout this page, I am only looking for 10 or 12 things to be changed, the majority of them being misquotes by the person who wrote this section. There are plenty of undisputed facts to go around, and I am not attempting to change history by making Billy a "good guy". However, it might be good to give the background information that would allow readers to realize that he might not have been so bad, and the good guys were most definitly not so good. Finally, for what its worth,how can we say "the fact remains that he was probably quite the cold blooded killer"?--Gordontaos (talk) 01:04, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Misquotes very certainly ought to be changed! Be BOLD! As for the Kid probably quite the cold blooded killer, all accounts that I've read about his escape from Bob Ollinger and Bell depict him as such. This little part of his life is well-documented. Whatever he was before this incident, that day, when he sat in the upstairs window and waited for Ollinger to come into view, when he hollered down "Hello, Bob!" and shot Ollinger down in the street, there can be no doubt that the Kid was, that day, a cold-blooded murderer. It was of little import how badly Ollinger may have mistreated the Kid. There was no true justice done to him that day. This wasn't a shootout where nobody knows who shoots whom sometimes. Billy took Ollinger's shotgun and blew the law officer away in front of witnesses. Sorry, my friend, but that's about as cold-blooded as it gets! Except maybe for what he did to Bell, whom from all reports was always nice to the Kid. Maybe Bell, out of some feeling of duty, did draw down on the Kid, who then had to defend himself. It's still "in cold blood".
 —  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  05:12, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

I would prefer that you or another editor make the changes that you deem appropriate that I have suggested. However, if you wish, I will make the minimal changes and then work with you on the appropriateness of some of the others that are perhaps more earth shaking. As far as the "cold blooded killer", defense, I agree. In the interests of equal opportunity, might we also attach the "cold blooded killer" label to; DA Rynerson for lying in wait and killing a rival politician, each individual who was in the sheriff's posse that killed Tunstall (Investigator Frank Angel specifically used that phrase in relation to Tunstall's murder), each member of the sheriff's posse that set fire to the McSween house and then waited for the occupants to come running out, and Pat Garret for cooly waiting in a dark room and shooting Billy without warning? We might also want to apply the label "back shooter", to Riley for shooting Juan Patron in the back while he was riding away on a horse? I feel that if it is important to attach a label to one, it is important to attach appropriate labels to all.--Gordontaos (talk) 18:06, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

The Killing of Frank McNab and After[edit]

In the last paragraph of this section the writer of this section states,"McCarty and the other Regulators spent the next several months in hiding and were trapped, along with McSween, in McSween's home in Lincoln. As a source for this statement the writer gives Wallis',"Billy the Kid", Pages 212-213. I feel that it is important to the proper understanding of this event to include information found on page 214 of the same book. On that page it states that also in the house with the Regulators were Susan McSween, her sister Elizabeth Shield, and Elizabeth's five, "terrified" children. The inclusion of this important detail puts a completely different view on the actions of the Sheriff's posse and Col. Dudley during this siege. If the Army's goal was humanitarian, to allow the Sheriff's posse to set fire to the house while knowing that innocent women and children were inside could border on the criminal.--Gordontaos (talk) 01:29, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Utley's account agrees with this... Note: all items in parentheses added only for the sake of clarification by Paine

(Sheriff Peppin's) sole contribution (in the Five-Day Battle for Lincoln) to the course of events was to order the McSween house set afire. . . . Of all the factors influencing the outcome of the battle, Colonel Dudley's mindless combination of action and inaction proved most decisive. He came to Lincoln to protect women and children, then refused to take the only action that would have protected women and children – stop the fighting and let the courts decide. Simply by entering Lincoln he had disobeyed orders; to have gone a step farther in behalf of humanity could not have brought him any more censure. As Sue McSween's tirade made clear to him, the McSween house itself contained three women and five children, and still he would not interfere. Yet his handling of the artillery (a Gatling gun and a howitzer), combined with his very presence in town, changed the equation of the battle and ensured Peppin's victory.

— Robert M. Utley, Billy the Kid – a Short and Violent Life, pp. 99-100
So it seems that sometimes historians do record events that those in power would rather be stricken from the annals. I see no reason why such detail ought not to be included in the article. There are at least two reliable sources for the credibility of these claims.
 —  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  22:46, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Last paragraph of lede[edit]

that reads:

Weren't there literally thousands of "dime novels" published "back East" about the Kid long before he was pronounced dead? A "relative unknown"? I don't think so. On the other hand, Garrett's book was a decided "flop". It's hard to believe that Garrett's account could have "catapulted the Kid into legend". So I am compelled to challenge the credibility of this final paragraph of the lede. This makes me seriously doubt the reliability of Wallis as a source, if this claim did indeed come from him (I don't have the Wallis book, so I don't know for certain.)
 —  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  06:50, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

In fact, I'd more doubt the person who put in all the references than the Wallis book itself. Wildhartlivie (talk) 16:52, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Thank you both for beginning to look at these issues.Actually, the Wallis book states on page 250, "News of the Kid's death flashed around the world.Even the Illustrated London News ran a summary of his life and times.The New York Daily Graphic reported....". It continues in the next paragraph to state,"Dime novels about the Kid, including Garret's ghostwritten book, began sprouting in 1881."

So, although I would not quote Wallis as a difinitive source on anything (Wallis essentially rehashed anything that anyone has ever had to say about the Kid), more fault lies with the person who frequently misquoted Wallis, and others, as I have pointed out in at least eleven seperate and distinct instances in the past 15 days. I personally have paid very little attention to when or how Billy the Kid was actually "catapulted into legend". My first thought is that it was newspapers that were attempting to increase circulation with lurid tales, since that may have been the reason that Gov. Wallace went back on his promises to the Kid.--Gordontaos (talk) 00:49, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Edit Lede and fixing Cite Error[edit]

I am having difficulty in trying how to figure out two things. 1- There is a Cite Error on citation #86, no matter what I do I cannot seem to figure out how to fix it. 2= How would one edit inaccuracies in the lede, or is that not possible. Thank you so much --Gordontaos (talk) 00:33, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Lede problems[edit]

Why put in a birth date when neither Utley, Nolan, Wallis, nor Jacobsen can find ANY RELIABLE documentary proof as to where or when he was born? I wish to change this birthdate to "unknown"

"but he most likely participated in the killing of fewer than half that number",. Actually, the reference given does not contain this statement, or anything like it. This phrase should be removed.

"and he was undisputedly involved in the killing of four men.[2]" Actually, that number is in dispute and should be changed to "three men". Jacobsen states (page 218),that Bonney was never accused of this crime except in the ghost written portion of Pat Garrett's book, The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid. He goes on to say that this portion of that book has "dime-novel neatness". Jacobsen is an Attorney with the NM State Attorney General's Office and should be considered to be the authority on legal matters relating to these events.

Why call the Lincoln County War the "so called" Lincoln County War? It should just be called the Lincoln County War.--Gordontaos (talk) 22:36, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

I revised parts of the lead section. However, I have major issues with your changes of the Joe Grant material. It doesn't matter what Jacobsen does for a living, both books are published and meet reliable source criteria. It is not within the scope of an article editor to conclude that one reliable source is "better" than an equal reliable source. We can only compare and contrast. You are removing a comparison of the two accounts (as included in the Jacobsen book and in the Wallis book) and replacing it with your interpretation. You changed the comparison to "One biographer, Joel Jacobsen, feels that this story is more myth than fact. He states that the original version of this event is in the ghostwritten portion of Pat Garrett's, Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, and that Bonney was never officially accused of this." I'm not finding anything in the Jacobsen book that maintains it is more myth than fact. Jacobsen says:

Bonney may have killed a man in Fort Sumner in January 1880. He was never prosecuted and the papers mentioned the killing in one-line police blotter reports, giving only the victim's name, which indicate by their brevity that the victim was not widely mourned. Robert Utley argues that the version presented in the ghostwritten portion of Pat Garrett's Authentic Life of Billy the Kid is true, despite its dime-novel neatness. It seems a drunk named Joe Grant was making himself obnoxious in a bar. The Kid admired Grant's revolver and, examining it, noticed three chambers were empty. He rotated the cylinder so an empty chamber was beneath the hammer. As he was leaving the saloon, his back turned to Grant, he heard a distinct click. He spun around before Grant could reach a loaded chamber. Always a good marksman, he shot Grant in the chin.

You're going to have to show me where that says it is more myth than fact, and how not being prosecuted means the account is myth or that it is untrue. In fact, Jacobsen does not address whether he doubts the account. It seems to me that if he did doubt it, he wouldn't have addressed in the way he did. Further, Jacobsen did not describe the account as "dime-novel neatness", he is quoting Utley. Therefore, your replacement blurb is misleading. I returned the paragraph with some minor alterations that indicate Jacobsen was recounting the Utley version, and without your interpretation of what you think Jacobsen meant. Wildhartlivie (talk) 06:09, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

OK. However, for the moment, can we agree that Jacobsen's statement that "Bonney may have killed a man in Fort Sumner in January 1880. He was never prosecuted..." indicates enough doubt that we could remove the word "definitively" from the phrase in the lede that, "he was definitively involved in the killing of four men?[2] Looks like you have Jacobsen's book. Also, what about the pesky birth date? There is certainly enough doubt to go around there--Gordontaos (talk) 13:38, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

I would agree to changing "definitively" to "generally accepted to have killed four men". Jacobsen doesn't disagree with the assumption that this happened, he only states that he wasn't prosecuted. I changed the wording on the birthdate to "reportedly" in the absence of any other suggested dates. It is sourced and it is clearly understood he was born in that general time period. Wildhartlivie (talk) 14:59, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for changing "definitively". However, I do not believe that "it is clearly understood that he was born in that time period". As with many of the statements sourced in this article, if one reads the next paragraph or page, the information presented as fact is disputed by the author who is sourced! In this case the next paragraph states:

"As for the year 1859, the Kid’s childhood friends in Silver City claimed he was about twelve in 1873, while his friends George and Frank Coe, said he was about seventeen during the Lincoln County War in the early year of 1878, and Lily Casey, a Lincoln county resident, would say when she encountered the Kid in early November of 1877, he was barely sixteen. This indicates he may have been born in 1860-61, making his age of death nineteen or twenty. In The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, the year 1859 may have been used to make the Kid twenty-one years old at the time of his death, so when Garrett killed the Kid, it would sound better to have him kill a man of twenty-one than possibly a youth still in his teens."

I do not believe that 1859 and 1861 are in the same time period. Finally, in the 1880 US Census, Bonney himself states that he is 25 years old, meaning that he was born in 1855. We have just as much reason to believe Bonney as we do Upson, Coe, or Casey, which is no reason at all. So, we have a potential 6 year spread on when he was born, and if we do not even know the year, we certainly have no idea on the day or month. --Gordontaos (talk) 16:31, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

On the subject of reliability, might we consider Wallis to be a tertiary source? It appears to me that he is merely summing up secondary sources. Also, Jacobsen, with his additional education and expertise based upon vocation, might be considered a more reliable source. His book is also definitely within the "secondary source" classification, since he makes extensive use of source documentation--Gordontaos (talk) 21:55, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

I can see no reason why Wallis would be considered a tertiary source. Because a given work summarizes and contrasts other sources doesn't make it an encyclopedia or compendia. Neither can one conclude such based on how content is presented, when it is an analysis of historical content. No modern work is based on original research, they all rely on previous work or sources in one way or another. Tertiary sources, by definition on Wikipedia are "publications such as encyclopedias or other compendia". This goes back to trying to say one source is better than another. There is no support for concluding that Jacobsen is a better or more reliable source based on his occupation as an attorney, or for that matter, his degree. A law degree gives him no greater authority as an historical author than Nolan or Wallis or any number of Western authors, some of whom were nominated for Pulitzer Prizes. The only thing that possibly can be done is compare and contrast what one reliably published work says in comparison to another, but we cannot determine Jacobsen is "more right" by virtue of a law degree. Wildhartlivie (talk) 10:41, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

As always, there is a "yeah but...". In this case we are not dealing with simple straight historic facts, but instead we are dealing with complex legal issues, that are frequently based on territorial law rather than common law. In order to more fully understand the Lincoln County War, one must also undestand the legal nuances that were literally used as weapons in this war. For instance, it is only Jacobsen who pointed out that the warrant used to arrest McSween in Las Vegas, NM was actually an illegal warrant. McSween himself did not understand that, which goes to show that you should actually finish law school prior to calling yourself an attorney. I am saying that Jacobsen is a better source than Wallis or Nolan for legal issues surrounding the Lincoln County War. Wikipedia does say that "A source is more reliable within its area of expertise than out of its area of expertise." Wallis' expertise is in writing books that sell, and in being a cartoon character voice. Just because he was nominated for a Pulitzer does not mean that he is any special authority in the Lincoln County War. Rt. 66 does not go through Lincoln County. Also... what about the concept that having a 6 year diversity of opinion on a birthdate qualifies that date to be "unknown"?--Gordontaos (talk) 18:00, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Removing a cited sentence[edit]

Reliable accounts suggest McCarty retaliated by drawing his gun and shooting Cahill, who died the next day.[33] Years later, Louis Abraham, who knew McCarty in Silver City, denied that anyone was killed in this altercation.[34] Records show, however, that a coroner's inquest concluded that McCarty's shooting of Cahill was "criminal and unjustifiable". Some of those who witnessed the incident later claimed that McCarty acted in self-defense.[35] Clearly, if there was a coroner's inquest someone died. Abrahams' memory was incorrect and there is no indication he was anywhere near Fort Grant at the time so his statement has no place in this section. Nitpyck (talk) 21:13, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

That doesn't really matter. It's entirely fine to include a statement that someone who knew him claimed no one was killed. The next sentence is the "however" to the statement. There's no real reason to delete the statement. It adds color. Wildhartlivie (talk) 22:45, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
The reason to remove the sentence is that it is false. Also the exact same quote is already and still in the article in another place. If you insist that statement must be 2 places in the article the least you can do is preface it by saying the thoroughly dis-proven statement by an individual who was not within a 100 miles of the shooting many years after the fact said the coroners inquest was not true because no one died. The fact that he knew Billy as a child is no reason to believe he knew what happened in Fort Grant. His quote "The story of Billy the Kid killing a blacksmith in Silver City is false. Billy never was in any trouble at all; he was a good boy..." kind of says it all because he was often in trouble; he was in fact a horse-thief, rustler, and murderer.Nitpyck (talk) 23:54, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I reverted your edit because it had already been discussed here a few days ago, and frankly, it looked like vandalism. I believe that there's no reason why the sentence shouldn't stay as is - and your reasons, IMO, are not persuasive. I will be reverting it back. --SkagitRiverQueen (talk) 00:04, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
To be clear- you agree with me that the statement is a false statement but you also believe it is significant enough to belong two places in this article. And this is because the lie is colorful? If you check the source of this quote you will see it does not say when and where the statement was made. It doesn't say if it was recorded in a book, a letter or a printed interview? Is there a reliable secondary source for this quote? Nitpyck (talk) 02:04, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

1- This is not vandalism - please assume good faith on my part. 2- The source of this quote is not a reliable one because it fails to state where and under what circumstances it was made. 3- It is clearly not an accurate statement. 4- The fact it is colorful seems irrelevant. 5- It is already included in another part of the article, where it is a better fit. The only acceptable reason to have this statement in this section is if there is a controversy over whether or not the killing occurred. If that is the case I would expect to see a rebuttal of the coroners inquest. Nitpyck (talk) 18:16, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

What you don't see is that other editors objected to the removal. In case you missed it, that the Kid was killed was disputed by several people and in fact, the next sentence states that the coroner's inquest into the death. This is a part of a lead in to discuss the killing and its entirely fine that someone's dispute of it is mentioned at this point. Please stop removing it. Wildhartlivie (talk) 19:57, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
1-No one has shown that the cite is from a reliable source. 2-No one said the Kid was killed. 3-There is no question that Frank Cahill was killed by Henry McCarty. 4-All editors have to set their own standards, but putting in information that is on it's face incorrect seems to me to be against what Wikipedia is trying to do. If you disagree with that please say so up front. I do not care if two editors or one-hundred editors want to add information that is incorrect to an article, I oppose it, and am sorry that you disagree with that position. Nitpyck (talk) 03:46, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

The rifle[edit]

From the Left-handed or right-handed? section:
"(All Winchester Model 1873 rifles were made with the loading gate on the right side of the receiver: the "left-handed" photograph is a mirror image.)" This makes it sound as if the rifle in the photo was enhanced to find that the loading gate is visible. I added a CN template with the notation "a citation is needed to show details about how it was determined that the loading gate is visible".
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  04:09, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

  • PS. I don't have software that can enhance a photo to the level required. I tried, but I wasn't able to make out a loading gate.
If you check Google Images for Billy the Kid you can see the image with the pistol holstered on his left and his right side and that in both images the loading gate is visible.Nitpyck (talk) 22:16, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Nitpyck. After several pages all I saw were example after example of pretty much the same picture in the article. What is needed is a pointer to a study of the photo and an expert giving the opinion that the loading gate is visible. I know what a loading gate looks like, and I still don't see one. All I see is what might be a loading gate, or might not be.
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  08:52, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

The picture at Shows the loading gate clearly. And if you look at Winchester rifle you'll see Billy's picture is reversed. Nitpyck (talk) 04:23, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

I would have to agree that the loading gate is visible, however what you and I agree to still constitutes original research. The claim in the article is set forth as if an expert study determined beyond any doubt that the loading gate is visible, and therefore the image is reversed. Such a claim needs to be reliably sourced, don't you agree?
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  05:56, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
It would be best, especially since this is a technical detail, to have the correct citation. Which is found in Google Books: Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life By Robert Marshall Utley (page 114) and also at In September, 1989,... a distinguished panel of 18 experts took a good, long look at an enlargement of the carte de visite... The original, a two-by-three-inch ferrotype or tintype,... was one of only two indisputably authentic photographs of Billy extant.Nitpyck (talk) 20:26, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
I do like the web cite. It appears to fill the bill. I have Utley's book, but I find nothing on page 114 about the photo. I probably just have a different edition. At the end of the 10th chapter there are photos beginning with the tintype, and oddly enough, the loading gate is clearly visible in that rendering. I shall add the web cite to the section.
 —  Paine (Ellsworth's Climax)  04:34, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

More films[edit]

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure played by Dan Shor —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Pardon 2010[edit]

Here's a source that says he might be getting one soon. Would someone like to work that into the article? Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 17:05, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

No Pardon for The Kid – Oh, darn!  —  Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX )  20:53, 31 December 2010 (UTC)


The second paragraph says he used the name William Bonney "at the height of his notoriety," while the third says he was relatively unknown in his lifetime. Whoever wrote these needs to get them into sync. Altgeld (talk) 00:56, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

If you see confusion, then you must clarify it. The Kid was notorious during his life mostly just in and around New Mexico. He was considered "Robin Hood"ish as a result of the dime novels in the East while he was still alive, but that wasn't much. Only after he was killed, and as a result of Ash Upton's and Pat Garrett's book, did his fame really take off. How would you clarify it so it wouldn't be questioned in the future?
 —  Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX )  23:30, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
I've been studying the Kid for 24 years and, aside from in movies riddled with inaccuracies, I have never heard of dime novels being written about him until long after he was dead. He was literally unknown outside NM and perhaps parts of TX and AZ until late 1879, and the first story about him in newspapers further east than St. Louis was about his last escape, in early 1881, 3 months before his death. Even that was a minor story and garnered little attention beyond the area. Outside of the area where he operated, he had no notoriety whatsoever until he was dead. He only became truly "famous" in the 20's and 30's, when books by Walter Noble Burns and Miguel Otero appeared, along with B movies and the aforementioned dime novels. His notoriety was entirely posthumous. While he was alive, if you had heard of him, you probably knew him personally or knew someone who did. He wasn't even a particularly important person in the Regulators' hierarchy until the McSween house was on fire, and the Regulators ceased to exist almost immediately following that incident. The fact is, he was a minor horse and cattle thief who also happened to kill a few people and participated in the killing of a few more - far less exciting/interesting than the exploits of men who were famous while they were still alive, like Wild Bill, Wyatt Earp, and Jesse James. Claims that he was written about in dime novels during his own lifetime are fantasies based on the legendary status he acquired long, long after he was dead and buried. Review of Nolan's "Billy the Kid Reader" suggests that the first dime novel appeared shortly AFTER his death. [1]: Fatbrett2 (talk) 22:42, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Proposed merger from Ollie P. Roberts[edit]

"Serious" challenges?[edit]

I see no need to mention in section six the "challenges" that are written about later in section ten, nor have I read any historian's account of these challenges that would justify the use of the term "serious challenges". There were as many as forty men who said they were Billy the Kid, and that they had escaped Garrett's bullets in 1881. Only two of those can be cited as "notable", and only one of those is sufficiently notable to have his own Wikipedia article. Neither one presents a "serious challenge" to the historic version.

The account that Pat Garrett wrote and published with the help of Ash Upson was not the only account of that event written and published by an eyewitness. John W. Poe also wrote about the execution, and at first, told Garrett that it couldn't possibly be the Kid, because he didn't believe Billy would come there. But when they went back into the room and shed some light on the body, there was no doubt in their minds that the dead man, shot just above the heart, was Billy the Kid. Poe's later-published account was almost exactly like Garrett's. So the majority of historians are satisfied that William Bonney died in 1881, executed by law officer Patrick Floyd Garrett.

It's very important to note that, while Billy's death in 1881 may or may not be "factual", Wikipedia is not interested in "factual" (see Verifiability). I consider the above-quoted claim to be too non-neutral to be used in this article. Editors have been working for many years to make this article an objective account of the subject. Such wording as is found in the above claim is hurtful to the article, and damaging to the descendents of the law officers involved in the execution. So if any editor wants to add the above quote back into the article, then I suggest you find one or two reliable sources to include with it (per WP:BURDEN).  —  Paine Ellsworth ( CLIMAX )  00:33, 30 January 2011 (UTC)


The following is the last paragraph of the lede, which is in "serious" need of a rewrite:

I have just finished re-reading Utley's chapter on the Kid's "celebrity". According to this reference source, Billy's notoriety had grown in New Mexico and the Texas panhandle as a result of his rustling activities in those areas, and also the result of his post-Lincoln County War activities. The Kid died in July of 1881, and this is about as far as his "celebrity" had reached on November 27, 1880 before his death the following July. It was on that day in November that Billy's local fame took a great turn upward. That was the day that the White Oaks posse surrounded Whiskey Jim Greathouse's place; it was the day deputy James Carlyle was killed, another supposed victim of Billy the Kid.

Further, Utley tells us that almost exactly the same time, the Kid was raised to National, even Global notoriety by a journalist named W.S. Koogler, one of the proprietors of the Las Vegas Gazette (18??-1886), who wrote about his journey down the Pecos River. Koogler was "full of indignation over the infestation of outlaws that prevented the territory's eastern plains from fully realizing their agricultural and stock-raising potential". He wrote:

According to Utley:

So from this we may glean that Bonney "enjoyed" national fame for the period from December 27, 1880 up until his death on July 14, 1881.

Moreover, Utley explains that the Garrett-Upson book did not sell many copies. It was a flop. But even so, later historians did draw upon the book for details about the Kid. So the book did have a decisive impact on Billy the Kid's image later, and did nothing to "catapult" the Kid into legend and fame right after his death.

So the last paragraph of the lede requires a rewrite, which I will finish shortly.  —  Paine Ellsworth ( CLIMAX )  07:05, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Misleading to infer acceptance that "William Henry McCarty" was Billy's birth name.[edit]

This scholarly article is weakened by repeated references to Billy as "William Henry McCarty." Since no documentation of his birth or baptism has been found, the only source of information about his birth name comes from the recollections of those who knew the family, the record of the marriage of Catherine McCarty and William Antrim, and contemporary news articles. The overwhelming evidence from these sources is that he was named, simply, "Henry McCarty." While this evidence may not be considered definitive, it is stronger by far than the distant recollection of a single individual. The story of Catherine calling him "Henry" so as not to confuse him with Willian Antrim is not supported by any other source and does not even rank as speculation. Since the story is attributed to a supposed acquaintance of the family, it might warrant mention in a sentence or two, but it does not justify setting the name "William Henry McCarty" apart and emphasing it in headline form. This clearly infers acceptance as fact. I would suggest replacing all reference to "William Henry McCarty" with "Henry McCarty," and limit mention of the longer name to a single sentence, which is all it deserves.

Dr. John Watson (talk) 08:28, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Then where did the "Billy" come from? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 08:43, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Earliest known news reports identify him as "Henry Antrim" and "Kid Antrim." It was after he learned of these published references to his step-father's surname that he decided to adopt the alias "William Bonney," possibly to avoid bringing discredit onto his family. Another reason for the name change could be that Billy feared he was still wanted as Henry Antrim for escaping jail in 1875. He may have chosen "William" since that was his step-father's name, or he may simply have picked it out of the air. The choice of "Bonney" is of greater significance. Was this his mother's maiden name, as some have suggested, or did he name himself after a local desparado who he respected, as others have said? Likely we will never know. Incidently, he never called himself "Billy," or "Kid," or "Billy the Kid." That is what others called him. He always referred to himself as "William Bonney." Dr. John Watson (talk) 16:43, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Hmm. Sources appear to show that the Kid only called himself William Bonney in the last year or two of his life ("height of his notoriety"). That was probably long after he learned of the Antrim refs. In any case, I see no reason to alter the four times the name in question is mentioned in the article merely based upon more conjecture. You'd probably start an edit war that could only end with things back as they are now. A rose is still a rose. – Paine Ellsworth ( CLIMAX )  20:45, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Removal of television mentions from pop-culture?[edit]

I looked at the pop-culture references under TV and radio, and was going to remove the following items:

When I hit edit, however, I saw the warning about not including anymore items and so on, so I figured that the list might be a consensus-based compromise. However, I still feel that the above items do not represent "highest profile, most historically reflective" as the edit-warning stated. My reason for deleting the items was that in my opinion, the appearance in a single episode is rarely a worthy cultural reference, whereas a mainstay character over several seasons (such as the remaning two items on the TV & radio list) is obviously a much more substantial, less "in-passing", reference. Dr bab (talk) 08:33, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Since there has been no objections in a week, I'm going to remove the references. Dr bab (talk) 08:09, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Michael McClure's The Beard[edit]

I added Michael McClure's play "The Beard" to the list of plays about Billy the Kid. I then saw the note saying not to add anything more, so this can be removed if necessary, but it's an important piece of contemporary American literature, and I believe it should be included.

Tad Richards (talk) 17:12, 27 January 2012 (UTC)Tad Richards — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tad Richards (talkcontribs) 17:09, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Billy Dean[edit]

Why is Billy Dean's song "Billy the Kid" included? It's a song about young Billy Dean, not about the western outlaw. I added a note to this effect.

Tad Richards (talk) 17:12, 27 January 2012 (UTC)Tad Richards

Hispanic and Latina?[edit]

Who edited this into the article? "Mexicans" and "Mexican", enough with the PC nonsense. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:00, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

First Kill at 18[edit]

What's with the line in the first paragraph saying the Kid first killed when he was 18? I have read sources that say it was 16. Should there not be at least some source or context here? — Preceding unsigned comment added by ChristGuard (talkcontribs) 06:49, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

The ferrotype[edit]

In the "Ferrotype" section, would it perhaps be a good idea to make a note that all ferrotypes (aka tintypes) are "flipped" left-to-right? Ferrotypes (and related processes) create a camera-positive image, showing the subject as they are accustomed to seeing themselves in a mirror, not as the viewer is used to seeing them in real life or in a modern photograph. Perhaps it would also be a good idea to change "photograph" to "ferrotype" or "tintype" (there is no difference) throughout, since it isn't really a photograph?

Actually, if it was known that the original was a tintype, I'm surprised that it took so much effort to determine that he wasn't left-handed - examining buttons, the rifle's loading gate, etc. I suppose even experts can get caught up in worrying about minutiae and not think about what they're actually seeing. -- John W. Pierce (talk) 23:31, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Image of ferrotype has glowing embers in the burned areas?[edit]

Why are there glowing embers in the burned areas of this photo? It looks as if someone took the ferrotype (or perhaps a reproduction of it), lit several parts of it on fire, blew them out, then snapped the photo before the embers had a chance to die out. They are literally the only parts of this image with that much red in them.--2001:558:6030:33:523:F6A6:DF88:DD8 (talk) 22:14, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Could the redness result from moisture and corrosion (rust)? – Paine Ellsworth CLIMAX! 01:59, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

contrsdiction in lead section[edit]

The last sentence of the lead: He killed his first man in 1877 at the age of 9, although he could have been as old as 12.
However, his birth year is 1859, that makes him 17 in 1877. Something must be wrong there... (talk) 23:21, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

He didn't kill anyone at 9 or 12 years old. He killed his first man, Windy Cahill, in Camp Grant, AZ, Aug 17, 1877.[1] He was about 16-17 years old. The claim that he killed someone in Silver City at 12 years old is nonsense invented by Ash Upson while ghost-writing Garrett's mostly fictional "Authentic Life of Billy the Kid". No credible authorities on the subject treat this piffle as a legitimate source. Immediately after the Kid's death, chatter (and then dime novels) which was highly critical of the manner in which Garrett had killed Billy began to spread. People were less than impressed with Garrett's courage in hiding in a dark room and shooting an unarmed boy (perhaps only 19 years old, probably 20, certainly no more than 20) who could not see his attacker, let alone defend himself; many asked why Garrett hadn't simply arrested him again. Garrett decided to tell the "true" story (i.e., a fabricated account designed to paint himself as a hero and the Kid as a villain) and hired Upson to do the writing. Garrett's agenda was simple: demonize the Kid and justify Garrett's actions during the pursuit and killing of Billy. To that end, Upson invented the story about a pre-teen Billy killing a man in Silver City for insulting his mother (Billy was actually arrested for two things in Silver City: stealing butter and stealing laundry, and both crimes occurred after his mother's death). To ensure that Billy was an adult (i.e., 21 years old) when Garrett killed him, Upson invented a birthdate to suit his needs - November 23, 1859; no evidence exists to support either the date or the year, and it is telling that Ash's own birthday happened to be... wait for it... November 23. Everyone who knew Billy says he was 19 or 20 when he died. Upson went on to invent other "facts" as well: he wildly inflated the number of men Billy killed; he claimed the Kid had a hair-trigger temper and aggressive, mean-spirited personality (claims refuted even by people who had reason to hate Billy, including the widow of Billy's last victim, Bob Ollinger); he distorted and exaggerated Billy's role in the Lincoln County War; and he, like Garrett, lied about the circumstances of Billy's death. Garrett and his associate, also present when Billy was killed, J.W. Poe, claimed that Billy was carrying a knife in one hand and a revolver in the other when Garrett shot him, but it is suspicious that they differed on the caliber of the gun and the number of live rounds it contained. The first people to see the Kid's body (Garrett had shot the Kid then bolted out of the room, thinking he had missed, and he refused to reenter the room until someone verified that the Kid was really dead), Deluvina Maxwell and Jesus Silva, mentioned seeing the knife, but not the gun, in later interviews. And when the inquest was held the next day, the knife was presented at evidence (and is still accounted for today), but no gun was ever produced. In short, the claim that Billy killed a man as a preteen is one of the many lies Upson invented for Garrett's book in an attempt to demonize the Kid, glorify Garrett, and justify Garrett's actions. It is refuted in every credible history/bio of the Kid, and it has no place here.: Fatbrett2 (talk) 00:14, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Claims regarding birthdate and age[edit]

The fact is that NO ONE knows when he was born, and therefore, no one knows how old he was at any given point of his life with any more specificity than a 2-3 year range. The date Nov. 23 1859 was invented by Upsom in his mostly fictional account of Billy's early life, and he chose that date for 2 reasons - 1. to make the Kid 21 years old when he was killed by Garrett (whose book Upsom was ghost writing in order to combat widespread derision of the manner in which Garrett had killed the Kid) and 2. because Upsom himself was born on Nov. 23. This article can make no specific claims regarding his age or date of birth, because no reputable biographer - Utley, Nolan, Wallis - has made such a claim. He was born between 1859 and 1861 and was no older than 21 (probably closer to 19-20) when he died. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fatbrett2 (talkcontribs) 23:19, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

More than one photo[edit]

The article states that there is just one picture of Billy the Kid, but if you google "Billt the Kid" you will find several web-sites showing at least one other photo. --Oddeivind (talk) 19:51, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Nope, didn't see but one photo, the ferrotype, on any of those websites. Please don't confuse the fact that Wikipedia is not the only website that sports two versions of the ferrotype, both the originial mirror image and the reversed image that shows the Kid to be in reality right-handed. There have been rumors of a second photograph (other than the reversed ferrotype) for many decades, however without any confirmation. The only other possibility really is the photo at Brushy Bill Roberts, however that's a bit of a long shot. Joys! – Paine EllsworthCLIMAX! 22:09, 26 February 2015 (UTC)