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Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: Tales from the Wild West part one: Kidology
Thread: Tales from the Wild West part one: Kidology
privatehudson
privatehudson


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posted August 02, 2004 07:40 PM

Tales from the Wild West part one: Kidology

Tales from the Wild West part one: Kidology



Just about the only proven picture of Billy the kid known to exist. Note that the picture is reversed, something that lead to the myth that he was in fact left handed.

Billy the kid, also known as William Bonney. The name is widely known throughout the USA and beyond as one of the most vicious and infamous gunfighters the Wild West ever saw. The legends surrounding him are as many and varied as that of any gunfighter. This article will attempt to dispel some of the many myths surrounding “The Kid” and leave us with a picture that is as close as possible to the reality. Billy the Kid, so the legends that began with Ash Upson and Pat Garret’s book (Upson wrote the majority of it) tell us was a notorious killer, a crack shot from his early teens, a killer from the age of 12, a gentleman, a gambler, a drinker and a rustler. Garret’s work claims that Billy shot down 21 men in 21 years of his life, not counting Indians and Mexicans. It has Billy killing grown men in his teens, tackling 8 Indians single-handedly with a six-shooter and a knife. In the book the myth of “The kid” is taken to extreme levels, moving Billy onto the same level as any of the era and then some. The reality is somewhat less impressive than this. Before comparing the two though, a brief resume of his life is needed.

His Life

William Henry McCarty was born sometime around either 1860 or 1861, either in New York or Indiana. His mother Catherine was a widow and single mother and he had one brother who was younger than him being born in 1863. His early life is something of a mystery, traces of him are hard to find, though evidence exists that he lived in Indiana in the late 1860s and then Wichita, Kansas in 1870. When his mother was diagnosed with Tuberculosis in 1871 the family moved to warmer climates, first to Santa Fe (where she married William Antrim) and then Silver City in southern New Mexico. It’s quite probable that Antrim disliked the two boys and the feeling seemed to be mutual. Billy went by the name Henry (to avoid confusion with his stepfather’s name) but still retained the use of McCarty during this period. Then on September 16, 1874, the Kid’s mother died, and Antrim refused to look after the boys, putting both into separate foster homes.

Abandoned mostly to his own devices, Billy worked washing dishes and waiting on tables in a restaurant during this period, but with no guidance soon fell into the “wrong crowd”. He befriended one Sombrero Jack and the two rapidly got themselves into minor trouble with the local law. Jack stole some laundry and gave it to Billy to hide, but he was caught with it, the sheriff teaching him a lesson by throwing him in jail. Billy panicked and escaped, fleeing to a foster family who packed him off to Arizona to see Antrim. His stepfather though did not want anything to do with Billy once more. Alone again, Billy wanders the desert areas from ranch to ranch seeking work at each. He did this for two years, along the way learning the tricks of the horse rustling trade from John Mackie before returning to ranch work.

Soon after, at the age of around 16 Billy ran into a gentleman called Frank “Windy” Cahill, a bully who enjoyed tormenting Billy when they met in the saloon of Camp Grant, Arizona. One day Cahill attacked Billy, knocking him to the ground, pinning him there and proceeded to punch and slap him. Pinned by Cahill’s greater weight Billy drew his revolver and shot Cahill in the gut. Billy fled the town on the nearest horse, fleeing to New Mexico. Now an outlaw he was unable to get lawful work and met with Jesse Evans, the leader of a gang called “the boys” which he joined with some reluctance. This one moment changed his career for good.

The boys made their way to Lincoln County where they met up with one James Dolan, currently in a feud with John Tunstall and Alexander McSween. Dolan was the protégé of L G Murphy, and was supported by the Santa Fe ring, a powerful, mafia-like organisation of politicians, lawyers, judges and businessmen in the area. Tunstall had arrived there from England seeking to make even more of his fortune and set himself up in opposition to Murphy and Dolan, but soon fell foul of them both politically and legally. He quickly set himself up with his own gunmen to defend his cause and the beginnings of the Lincoln county war were in place.



John Tunstall, hardly the middle aged father figure!

The boys along with Billy began to rustle Tunstall’s cattle, but a lack of success saw Billy and others caught and jailed. Tunstall though saw something in Billy that few others to date had noticed, and offered him a deal, turn witness against the others in return for his freedom and work for Tunstall. Billy accepted. Billy changed his name again, this time to William H Bonney, but was soon known to his friends in Tunstall’s group as the “Kid”. The feud soon escalated into bloody violence though, Tunstall being gunned down by a lynch-mob come Posse lead by Sheriff Brady and the boys, a fateful event that would once again change Billy’s life.



Sheriff Brady, the posse leader that lead the murder of Tunstall

Tunstall’s ranch hands reacted by setting up the Regulators for revenge justice against the actions of Brady, the group being lead by Dick Brewer. The first attempts came through warrants and legal action, but with Brady and the legal system biased, these went nowhere. They then took things into their own hands, killing two of the boys in a firefight (plus a regulator they felt was double-crossing them), another Dolan gunman, and then Sheriff Brady. The revenge though cost the regulators dear, warrants were issued for their arrest and they fled, eventually ending up in the temporary sanctuary of the McSween store.

Here they were surrounded by Dolan’s new sheriff, George Peppin and his posse. McSween, eager to avoid conflict sent a message to the local army commander at Fort Stanton, a  Colnel Dudley who duly arrived in force in an attempt to force a stalemate. Unfortunately this was not to last forever, on the 5th day the impatient Peppin ordered the house set on fire, despite knowing that civilians were sheltering inside. In the ensuing confusion, Billy and most of the regulators made a break for it first to draw fire then McSweeny and the civilians tried to escape. In the confusion McSween and 3 men fell dead, most of the regulators escaped though.



Alexander McSween, partner to Tunstall who died at the end of the siege

Billy then went on the run, with the respectable people in the war on the Tunstall side dead he had no support left. Forced into rustling and gambling to keep alive he eventually heard that Governor Axtell was to be replaced by Lew Wallace, brought in from outside to restore law to the area. Seeing his chance, Billy offered to turn witness against the Dolan faction in return for a pardon. He agreed to a mock imprisonment during the trial in order to achieve this. Unfortunately Wallace's power could not force a pardon against the wishes of prosecutor attorney William Rynerson, who happened to be a member of the Santa Fe ring. The ring influenced events, with those tried from the Dolan faction acquitted. Feeling betrayed as Wallace could not garuntee his safety (William Rynerson was threatening to try him for Brady's murder). Billy escaped once more.



Lew Wallace, author of Ben Hur, important man in this story

He returned to rustling, and during this period earnt from local newspapers, who delighted in demonising him the title "billy the kid". He went back on the run, hanging around Fort Sumner New Mexico and here killed one Joe Grant in self defence. He continued to get into trouble, soon afterwards being surrounded by a posse from White Oaks at a station house. During the stand off, one of the posse accidently killed deputy James Carlyle, a death promptly attributed to Billy of course.

As the Kid dodged the law, Pat Garrett was elected sheriff and made US Marshal to hunt for Billy the Kid. He was familiar with the Kid’s habits and hideouts, which may show that Garrett may have been a rustler himself or at one time may have ridden with the Kid. During the pursuit for Billy the Kid, Garrett ended up killing two of the Kid’s closest comrades, Tom O’Folliard and Charlie Bowdre. Finally on December 23, 1880 Garrett trapped the Kid and three other gang members at a cabin in Stinking Springs. After a short standoff, Billy the Kid came out and surrendered.



The building at Stinking Springs where Billy and his gang were trapped

Billy the Kid was quickly put on trial in Mesilla and was sentenced to hang for the murder of Sheriff Brady. After his sentence was passed, the Kid was taken to Lincoln to await his hanging. The Kid was shackled and imprisoned in a room in the Lincoln courthouse as two deputies took turns guarding over him. On April 28, 1881 the Kid made his most daring escape (which would also be his last). He overcame one guard and was forced to shoot him to prevent him warning others, then shot the second, Bob Olinger a man he hated. He rode out of Lincoln for the last time and fled to Sumner, his only real home.



Lincoln Courthouse

The Kid decided to laid low long enough until the law would give up hunting him and he could “rustle” up some money and leave the territory. By July of 1881, Garrett heard rumors that Billy the Kid was in the Fort Sumner area, so with two deputies he rode into Fort Sumner.



Pat Garrett, the man who shot Billy the Kid, appologies for the rather partisan comments, they're not mine!

On July 14, 1881 just before midnight, Pat Garrett waited till the town was quiet before he slipped into Pete Maxwell’s room to ask him about Billy the Kid. Garrett was a former employee of Pete Maxwell's and it's possible that Maxwell tipped Garrett off that the Kid was in the area. At that exact moment, the Kid with a knife in hand went to Maxwell’s house to get some fresh beef for a late steak dinner. As he approached, he saw Garrett’s two deputies on the porch and since he didn't recognizing the strangers, he backed cautiously into Maxwell’s room and asked “Pete, who are those fellows outside?” He got no answer and as he walked towards the bed, he saw Garrett’s silhouette and started to back away and asked in Spanish, “Whose there?” Garrett recognized the Kid’s voice and fired his gun. The bullet pierced the Kid's heart and he fell to the floor. Garrett and Maxwell ran out of the room and huddled outside with the two deputies and waited. They could hear as the Kid gasped for breath and then all was quiet, Billy the Kid was dead

That then is a short story of William H Bonney, alias Billy the Kid, though it leaves out some of what happened to him for reasons of space. Then we have the legends that surround him, which I will now go through below.
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privatehudson
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posted August 02, 2004 07:41 PM

Pat Garrett's book:

Shortly after the death of Billy, Garrett wrote a story about the life of Billy the kid with one Ash Upson. Garrett was, how shall we say economical with the truth? For one Garrett neatly placed Billy as being 21 when he died, then accepted as the age of becoming officially a man. Billy was probably younger than this when he died, probably even in his teens. Numerous friends and acquaintences of Billy have said through the age he was when they knew him that he was born either in 1860 or 1861, and most likely 1861. Garrett seems likely to have modified Billy's age in order to escape ridicule for killing a mere "boy".

Garrett's book is also notorious for embelishing the facts about Billy's early life, even though evidence shows that the two probably were not that close for him to know. Garrett has Billy killing his first man at just 12, for insulting his mother, then he fled Silver City. Totally wrong, when Billy did flee the town his mother had been dead over a year, in Garret's age he was 16, and was likely to have actually been 14. He left after he was arrested for stealing laundry, not a killing.Garrett goes on, embelishing the notion that Billy killed 3 grown Apache warriors for their horses and furs. He rescues texan settlers from indians (killing some of them with an axe, others with his six-shooter), shoots mexicans for cheating on him and others just for insulting him. In fact, Garrett embelishes Billy's life so much that by the time he has him returning to New Mexico aged just 17, he has cut down 15 grown men!

Possibly Garret's biggest lie though centers around how he killed Billy. Garrett caught up with him in Fort Sumner in 1880 with two deputys with him. Many rumours surround the killing, and very few things are certain, but what is certain is that Garrett did shoot Billy dead, firing twice, hitting him once in the heart, in the Maxwell house in Fort Sumner during the night of Jul 14, 1881.

Garrett claimed in the book that he went to the house to ask him about where the kid was, in the process leaving his deputies outside on the porch. Whilst he woke Maxwell, Billy arrived, apparently being hungry and having heard that Maxwell had some beef he could eat. Approaching the house he almost fell over the deputies in the gloom and was suprised to see them, not recognising them. One of them told him not to be alarmed, but he backed into Maxwell's dark bedroom.

Once there he asked Maxwell who was outside, but Maxwell didn't respond to him, instead whispering to Garrett "that's him". At this point Garrett claims Billy approached where he was and noticing his outline, asking in spanish who was there (most of the town were of Mexican origins). He then seems to have recognised Garrett according to the book as he tried to move backwards, at that point Garrett shot him dead. All very just so, only problem is that many accounts don't agree with this story in the slightest.

Mckinney (one of the two deputies) for example claimed that Garett kidnapped Billy's mexican girlfriend and lured him there using that. Garrett had a habit of ambushing those he had hunting down, the story seems much less believeable considering his habit of not giving the outlaw a fair fight. Some of those on the scene just after the shooting remarked that though Garrett himself claimed to have run out of the building right after, no gun was ever found on the body, leaving it suspicious that Billy ever was armed with a gun that night. Some accounts, notably Coe's (the other deputy) hint that he approached the building armed, and yet also say as he approached that he was doing up his trousers, a difficult thing whilst holding a butchers knife and pistol!

The accounts contradict themselves, and it seems likely that Garrett could have been lying. It further seems unlikely that Billy could have recognised Garrett, the room was pitch black, Garrett saw Billy simply because he was framed in the doorway by a full moon, Garrett wasn't even sure at first that he had actually shot Billy! What we have is a death in circumstances largely unknown. Garrett though was a known liar if it would get him off the hook. Shooting Billy in cold blood would have damaged his reputation, doing it as he described would not have.

Young Guns

These two movies are riddled with evented happenings, changed histories and altered people to suit the storyline, in other words typical hollywood! The major problems include the fact that neither Chavez or Doc should be in the second movie, both went their seperate ways after the McSween incident. Doc settled in Texas and died on July 25, 1929 in Eastland, Texas, and did not die in the shootout at Stinking Springs, Chavez left the group and was not wounded to die later, he served a decade in jail! He died on July 17, 1923 in Milagro, New Mexico. Who was there (and died there too in the way that Doc died in the second film) at stinking sands was Charlie Bowdre, who dies in the first film! To be exact, he dies in the McSween siege when the gang break out.

Of the two main protagonists, Tunstall appears to be somwhere in his middle age in the movies, but in real life he was just 24, and that's just 3 years older than the regulators in the movie! Murphy, who has quite a big role in the first film was in reality dying of cancer in hospital in Santa Fe during that period. The main enemy of the regulators, Dolan gets barely a mention in either movie. Garrett is made to be a friend of Billy in the movie even a kind of older brother figure, but there's little evidence that the two got on that well, only that they knew of eachother and may have rustled together at one point.

Ages and relationships seem to further plauge the movie. Tom Folliard who is the youngest member of the gang in the second movie was in reality older than Billy, and not only that was one of his best friends, having rode with him since the begining. The movies make Billy seem illiterate, Doc writes his letters and so on. In reality, what letters survive of his show that he was quite capable of writing well.

Whole scenes and characters are invented, the Lynch mob scene in the second movie, where Rudabagh, Billy and Garrett rescue Chavez and Doc never happened, especially since neither ever rode with Billy again after the end of the lincoln county wars. Maddona's character, Jane Greathouse in the second movie, the prostitute who gives Billy a gun to escape custody and who's snowhouse was burnt down never existed. Jim Greathouse, a stationhouse owner was the person who owned the house the events took place in.

The movies further have the kid killing or responsible for killing people he in reality did not. In the first movie he is shown shooting Charlie Crawford between the eyes during the siege to annoy the lawmen. In reality, Doc's father in law shot him on the outskirts of the town. Also in the first movie, McSween is shot down by an army gattling gun, when in reality he was shot down by one of Dolan's men. The army refused to fire at all. In the second movie he throws Deputy James Carlyle who had been negotiating with the band out of the snowhouse dressed as an indian to be shot. What really happened was that Jim Greathouse had been captured by the mob outside who threatened to shoot him if Carlyle was harmed. Carlyle heard a shot outside (it was apparently an accidental one), and fearing that Greathouse had been killed, dived out of a window to avoid being shot in retaliation. Those outside shot him anyway, thinking Billy had dived out.

There's many other great errors in both movies, frankly as a study of Billy the Kid's life though they are truly awful, and downright misleading, only rivalled by Garrett's work for implausability. The biggest though may be in the second movie with the links to Bushy Bill Roberts and his claims to be Billy the Kid. Here's a hint of how well knowledged this claimant was, when Billy broke out of where he was being held in Lincoln he shot two men dead, Bob Olinger and his Deputy. Bushy Bill when asked claimed that no shot had been fired whatsoever that day. He also forgot Pat Garrett's name when questioned about the events!

The myth of his killings:

Twenty one dead in twenty one years, not counting Mexicans and Indians

Not even remotely proveable. Most evidence points to him never even reaching twenty one for a start. They can prove without a doubt that he shot dead 4 men, two in the event of self defence, two in an attempt to escape jail. Let us examine these:

Joe Grant (self defence) Grant had boasted in a bar all evening that he would kill someone that night, and hinted that Billy knew who. Grant took another pistol from a cowboy who did not object that had a pearl handle. Billy, knowing that Grant probably meant him asked to see the weapon and spun the chamber of the revolver to an empty one (the cowboy had fired target rounds earlier that night) before handing him it back. Later, when Billy turned to leave, Grant pulled out his pistol and fired, only to hear a click. Knowing that the next would fire, Billy turned and shot Grant dead. Self defence seems a not unreasonable claim here

Frank Cahill (self defence) Cahill has been mentioned above, bullying Billy and beating him up. Maybe Billy's reaction was extreme, but those were lawless times.

Bill Olinger (Shot in escaping) Olinger heard the shot Billy fired at Bell and rushed out to see what was happening. To escape, Billy would have to get past Olinger, and knew that with Olinger hating his guts, only killing him would do. He did just that.

James W Bell (Olinger's deputy, shot in escape) Bell was the deputy that Billy was left with when he made good his escape. The method has been left confused ever since, but it seems Billy liked Bell, and always claimed that he did not want to shoot him in his escape, but Bell forced him to by trying to raise the alarm.



Billy was said to have shot bell on the stairs of the building, these are those same stairs

Then there are 5 people where we can say that Billy was present for their deaths, and certainly firing at them, but not necessarily the one who killed them, these are Billy Morton, Frank Baker, William McCloskey, William Brady, and George Hindman.

Then there are controversial events, namely James Carlyle (which I dealt with in the young guns area) and Buckshot Roberts. Buckshot and the Regulators fought a battle during the Lincoln County War. Evidence points to the killer being Charlie Bowdrie though, not Billy. He was blamed for killing Charlie Crawford, but this was Doc Scurlock's father in law, not Billy. He gets the blame for killing Robert Beckwith as he escaped from McSween's burning house, but credit most likely went to another Regulator or a stray bullet; Billy the Kid in the meantime, was too busy running for his life in another direction! Lastly, he was blamed for killing a Mescalero agency clerk, Morris Bernstein. While the Kid and his cohorts were watering their horses at a nearby spring several yards away, a gunfight broke out between Bernstein and Atanacio Martinez (who was riding with the Kid), which resulted in Martinez killing the clerk.

In those in the above paragraph Billy was not even on the scene, or known to have been firing at the person, and yet gets the blame! What you're left with is the fact that he killed 4 men for certain with little choice, and participated in 5 killings during a war. Which brings me neatly to a conclusion.
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privatehudson
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posted August 02, 2004 07:41 PM
Edited By: privatehudson on 2 Aug 2004

So what was he really like?

Well it really depends on how you view the events of his life and from what perspective. Viewed from a modern day perspective, Billy is something of a muderous thug who chose violence over peace at every turn. His upbringing was no excuse, he was an evil person responsible for perpetuating the violence of the period to even greater levels.

In my opinion though Billy's life and death can only be viewed through the eyes and opinions of his time. The Wild West was a violent place, killings over card fights, brawls and knife fights over spilt drinks were commonplace. In the perspective of his time, though he lead a violent life, none of his killings were especially unjustified, either committed in self defence, escaping harsh sentences or in revenge for the loss of an honest man in John Tunstall. Even judged compared to what happened to others at the time he was treated harshly by the times. Others involved in the Lincoln county war escaped scot free, he was the only one to be found guilty in court of anything related to the war during that period.

His legend is based almost entirely on myth, myth created by Garrett and perpetuated by others afterwards and more recently film of course. The truth is closer to a young teenager caught up in a violent life by circumstance rather than express choice. Twice in this violent career he personally tried to end the events that he could no longer directly control, both times he kept his side of the bargain until the other party broke theirs. You must appreciate that when he shot down a lawman, we are not talking an upstanding member of the community, but were crooked and corrupt, themselves directly involved in henious crimes.

Don't misunderstand me, Billy the Kid was no angel by any means, but his legend is far in excess of the real Billy. He was not even in the same league as some of the real villains of the West, and probably not as brilliant as any of the myths made out either. He strikes me as an uncertain, scared child, running from trouble, unable to stop the violence around him or rectify his problems.

This has been the first in a series of articles on the characters of the old west, their legends and the truths. I hope you have enjoyed it as I did writing and researching it.



Billy the Kids' grave, in which he, Tom Folliard and Charlie Bowdrie are buried. The sign to the right reads: Billy the Kid's Tombstone was stolen in 1950. For 26 years it remained a mystery until 1976, when it was recovered in Granbury, Texas by Joe Boudin. Stolen again on Feb. 3, 1981. Recovered Feb. 12 in Huntington-Beach, California. Gov. Bruce King arranged for De Baca County Sheriff "Big John" McBride to fly to Los Angeles, California via Texas International Airlines to return the marker. Chamber officials with Jarvis P. Garrett officially reset the marker in iron shackles May 30, 1981.

Replies and Comments:

Consis remarked the following:

Quote:
Second, I don't like him and never did. And furthermore, the kind of people who like to glorify him commonly behave as they think he would. I'm abstaining from further discussing this historical character.


I find that quite a shame, see I'm interested to know your reasons and the logic behind them. In doing so though you have to consider the situation of the period and area, the situation Billy was in and so on. Using how his image and reputation has corrupted people is pretty poor grounds IMO for being against someone, you might as well be against Luther and the Protestant religion because his writings were used as part of mollifying others re the hatred of Jews.
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Consis
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posted August 02, 2004 09:16 PM

I'm Not Getting Sucked In

I can't believe you are comparing Billy the Kid to Martin Luther. This is not a discussion worth my time. I am respectfully abstaining from further participating in this discussion.
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privatehudson
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posted August 02, 2004 09:55 PM
Edited By: privatehudson on 2 Aug 2004

No, I am comparing your argument to another of similar type. You were suggesting that part of your anger re Billy the Kid was related to the way people have misused his name and personality, reasons and aims in order to degrade all of them. If you're going to say such a thing, you might as well be against Luther because of how some of his followers have misused his word. It follows the same logic, if someone's image and word has been misused, then we must dislike said person. Luther was a man of his time, but if we re-read his works now they are distinctly anti-semetic. This is your logic and not mine.

Please do not hide behind emotive strawman arguments to avoid the fact that the only real parts of your reasoning against Billy the Kid that you have explained in any great detail involves some very unusual logic indeed. What the modern world makes of a man of history and the way that man has been held up as an icon is not necessarily that man's fault, and in the case of Billy the Kid, one could make a decent argument for saying the blame for that lies squarely at the feet of Pat Garrett and Upson for creating the Myth in the first place!

But no, feel free to hide behind considering me a zealot, remember this though, I have supported my argument with some very sound logic related to the period's problems, the situation and so on, so far your arguments have been mostly emotional ones that do not take those factors into account.
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bort
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posted August 02, 2004 10:40 PM

Just a quick post in partial defense of Consis -- Hudson, how do you feel when some fat kid from Chicago who's last name happens to be "O'Brien" starts waxing poetic about how wonderful the IRA was?  I'm not saying that Consis's arguments are entirely rational, but I'm saying I know and understand why he's making them.
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privatehudson
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posted August 03, 2004 02:15 AM

Well the difference would be that any rationally looked into history of the IRA would show that they killed innocent people in cold blood with no reasoning, and many hundreds of them also. I would probably enter into a discussion with him, generally because the IRA is one topic that doesn't especially annoy me.

In this case we're talking about a guy who killed maybe 9 people with some damned good reasons to do so to in most of the cases. Not the same like you said...
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Svarog
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posted August 03, 2004 09:50 PM

Oh IPU, where is the world going?
An Englishman with a whole bunch of history behind him treats Wild West criminals as historical persons - this is definitely nominated for the laugh of my day.

Not that I agree or disagree with PH's article (cos I dont have any info on this thug), but may please someone tell me why is this man so important for world history? OH sure, I can understand the American complex for the lack of real historical heroes, and inventing them from the ranks of cowboys and former presidents; but what I cant understand is how is that connected with the interests of a Brit who lives on Wirral. (Please USA, give the man citizenship!) Luv ya, PH.

Otherwise (from what I read), yeah, Billy's not that bad, but he's negative no doubt. How many times did he choose continuing the circle of violence (although maybe impossible to get out from) instead of trying to settle down and get an unpopular job as cattle raising or fleeing the country?

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privatehudson
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posted August 04, 2004 12:29 AM
Edited By: privatehudson on 4 Aug 2004

Hmmm let us see.

Twice he attempted to settle the issue legally, settle down if you will. Simply becoming a rancher was not possible, legal work when you have 3/4 of the law enforcers in the state chasing you down plus bounty hunters after you and every last man with a will to make himself famous trying to shoot you in the back... yeah I'm sure you'd find it easy to settle down too. Fleeing the country, well lets see, one of the few things Young Guns I gets right was on the whole Mexico thing, New Mexico may be very close to old Mexico, but the chances of getting past the bounty hunters and the law was about nil. After that, I'd be interested to see how you'd get from Lincoln New Mexico to Canada or a costal city in the late 19th century whilst virtually everyone in the country with a badge is trying to kill or capture you.

Why is this guy important? Like any great historical figure, it makes for interesting films and legends. Why do I like him? I don't, I like correcting people's impressions of "popular" history which holds that a person who tried to get some justice in a violent world is some sort of 19th century mass murderer. Why is anyone important, why like Alexander the great, the guy slaughtered entire cities and enemy formations, conquered land beyond his people's initial intentions, marched to the end of the known world and beyond. Should I study Napoleon more because he is more important conventionally? A man that invaded numerous european countries and set his family and friends on their throne despite claiming to be a republican? What about Churchill, should I study him more simply because he's British? People are complex personalities, and I like that, be them some king of a massive empire, or some young kid from another country. I like three types of history, "people" history like this, "technical" history like that I wrote on Israel and if you like "campaign" history like the the one I wrote on Waterloo.

As for your other comments, the day we reduce ourselves to only studying our own history or only studying conqerors and kings because popular opinion says they are important is the day history dies. Interesting people matter, where they come and their luck in being born to a noble or queen is irrelevant. Anyone wanting to know about the more conventional people of history can go to the library and easily find a book on them. Writing articles about people that we mostly know quite well isn't very useful, writing them about those we don't know quite well is.

Negative depends on your viewpoint. The wild west was not some civilised modern country with proper legal systems and courts of appeal. You either lie down and be walked all over or fight back when this kind of thing happens. Maybe the regulators and he made a mistake, but they certainly set out with the intention of restoring some justice to that part of the world.
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Wiseman
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posted August 05, 2004 03:30 PM

Privatehudson have you written any more texts like these
about some other mispercieved historical person?

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privatehudson
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posted August 05, 2004 04:10 PM

Not at present no, but I shall be writing one on Doc Holliday in the near future

My other two articles at present are one on the Myths of Waterloo and one on the early days of the Israeli Armoured formations
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Wiseman
Wiseman


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posted August 06, 2004 06:44 AM

Have you posted the one about Waterloo on HC, and if you haven`t are you going to?
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Lord_Woock
Lord_Woock


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posted August 06, 2004 07:07 AM

Cool, now do one about Lucky Luke
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privatehudson
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posted August 06, 2004 07:41 AM

Quote:
Have you posted the one about Waterloo on HC, and if you haven`t are you going to?


I haven't at this time, I could post both of them though
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2XtremeToTake
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posted August 06, 2004 09:10 AM

interesting. Sadly the only time i ever heard of Billy the kid was in the movie "Bill and teds exellent adventure"
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privatehudson
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posted August 06, 2004 09:18 AM

Well now you're educated on the matter
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Pirahna
Pirahna


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posted August 06, 2004 06:14 PM

I kind'of liked your long and boring story ... but the main question in my head :
Where did you get all those pics ?

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privatehudson
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posted August 06, 2004 06:23 PM
Edited By: privatehudson on 6 Aug 2004

Mostly from internet sites on the history of the wild west

And I'm intruiged as to how you liked a long and boring story
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Dingo
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posted August 07, 2004 04:29 AM

I liked the long and boring story.

I can't believe that the tombstone was stolen, so many times, and then recovered.  Who would want to steal a tombstone?  I think it's bad luck.
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