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On This Day… The Famous Gunslinger Billy The Kid Was Shot And Killed

Written by: George Chittenden : 22 Sep 2019

It was on this day, 14th July back in 1881 when Sheriff Pat Garrett shot and killed his one-time friend, Billy the Kid. The young cowboy’s real name was Henry McCarty, and he became a wanted man when he ambushed and killed a sheriff and a deputy in Lincoln, New Mexico on April 1st, 1878. Billy the Kid carried out the killings in revenge after his friend and employer, ranch owner John Tunstall had been murdered. Billy the Kid had vowed to hunt down and execute every man responsible. It didn’t take long for Billy the Kid to become the most wanted man in the west. During his life he claimed to have killed almost two dozen men, one for each year of his life. In actual fact, we don’t know how many he killed for sure, but eight or nine is probably much closer to the truth.

Eventually Billy the kid was caught, but no other than the Legendary Sheriff Pat Garrett, the man who would eventually kill him. At trial the judge sentenced Billy the Kid to hang, and the notorious gunslinger told him to go to hell. It looked like it was all over for Billy, but then two weeks before his scheduled execution, he killed two guards and escaped. Sheriff Pat Garrett raised another posse and after three months he finally tracked Billy the Kid to the Maxwell Ranch in New Mexico. Whilst Billy was out, Pat Garrett waited in the dark in his bedroom, and when Billy entered, Garrett shot him to death.

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