American outlaw (1859-1881). Real name: William H. Bonney. The most famous of the outlaws of the Wild West. Sometimes credited with one murder for every year of his life, though that figure is considered dubious. Became well-known during the so-called Lincoln County War in New Mexico. Killed by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett and buried in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

Almost as mysterious as his life, is Billy's death. The exact location of The Kid's grave in the graveyard isn't known. His original tombstone was made of wood, and a flood washed away the wooden tombstones not long after Billy's death, and the current grave site is merely an estimate. Like most artists, Billy's fame skyrocketed after his death.

No two books will ever agree 100% on the facts, but as best I am able to put together, the following is true:
  • He was shot dead at Fort Sumner, New Mexico by Pat Garrett.
  • The date was probably July 14th, 1881.
  • No one actually saw him get shot, it was too dark. The actions of the entire final gunfight (which lasted all of two shots) was based on sound.
  • Billy the Kid's last sentance was in Spanish, which he was fluent in.
  • Billy's "PALS" headstone has been stolen twice, the first time back in 1950. It stayed missing for 26 years, before it was found in Granbury, TX (a town once filled with aging outlaws whose deaths were faked). Then it got swiped again in 1981, recovered a week later in Huntington Beach, CA.
  • The first theft of the headstone nearly turned Fort Sumner into a ghost town, as it was the only reason people would ever visit the place. Without that tourist meal ticket, there was very little new income.
  • Billy's real corpse could be anywhere in New Mexico. Since the flood washed away his tombstone, and the body's location was unknown, the flood could have washed the body quite a ways as well. Additionally, Fort Sumner was abandoned and largely uninhabited, the body could have been dragged off by carrion feeders after this. Additionally there is a tale of bandits that actually stole the corpse (though the reason varies in each tale) It is entirely possible that his mortal remains are nothing more than a few chips of bleached bone somewhere near Taos, NM.
  • Anyone who tells you they know the whole truth of Billy the Kid's death is either lying through their teeth, or are misinformed by someone else who was lying or misinformed. Not even Pat Garrett (the man who shot Billy) really knows anything more than what is in his journal.

      (excerpt from the The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid by Pat Garrett)

      "He came directly towards me. Before he reached the bed, I whispered: 'Who is it, Pete?' but received no reply for a moment. It struck me that it might be Pete's brother-in-law, Manuel Abreu, who had seen Poe and McKinney, and wanted to know their business. The intruder came close to me, leaned both hands on the bed, his right hand almost touching my knee, and asked, in a low tone: -'Who are they Pete?' -at the same instant Maxwell whispered to me. 'That's him!' Simultaneously the Kid must have seen, or felt, the presence of a third person at the head of the bed. He raised quickly his pistol, a self-cocker, within a foot of my breast. Retreating rapidly across the room he cried: 'Quien es? Quien es?' 'Who's that? Who's that?') All this occurred in a moment. Quickly as possible I drew my revolver and fired, threw my body aside, and fired again. The second shot was useless; the Kid fell dead. He never spoke. A struggle or two, a little strangling sound as he gasped for breath, and the Kid was with his many victims."

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