Billy the Kid Facts

Here are some facts about the outlaw Billy the Kid.

  • Billy the Kid was probably born on November 23, 1859.
  • Billy the Kid was an outlaw who was involved in a period of violence in the American Old West called the Lincoln County War.
  • People have often claimed that Billy the Kid killed 21 men. Modern historians believe that the number of victims is actually somewhere between four and nine.
  • His birth name was William Henry McCarty Jr, though he most often used the name William H. Bonney from which Billy the Kid is derived. He also used the alias Henry Antrim.
  • Billy the Kid is known to have committed his first killing in 1877. At the time he was only 17 years old.
  • While he was certainly a dangerous outlaw, few people had heard of Billy the Kid before 1881. New Mexico governor Lew Wallace put on a bounty on him in that year, and that pushed his name into the headlines.
  • Newspapers as far away as New York City printed stories of his exploits in 1881. This eventually made him into a huge folk hero despite the fact that he was murderer and a livestock rustler (thief).
  • Billy the Kid was known to be a sharp dresser.

Billy the Kid

  • He had blue eyes and was 5′ 8″ tall.
  • Although it was commonly believed that Billy the Kid was left-handed, he is now thought to have been ambidextrous (able to use both hands equally well).
  • He was apparently very agile and had quick reactions.
  • The majority of historians believe that Billy the Kid was killed on July 14, 1881 – shot by Sherrif Pat Garrett. A few people think that Billy that his death was staged so that he could escape the law.
  • Since then, several people have claimed to be Billy the Kid. There was even a court case about this in 2004.
  • According to Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid was buried in the military cemetery at Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
  • Billy the Kid has been the subject of numerous books, TV shows and movies. Kris Kristofferson, Emilio Estevez and Paul Newman have all played the role of the outlaw-hero.

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