Billy the Kid

Henry McCarty, AKA William H. Bonney, was best known as Billy the Kid—a man whose slim, youthful demeanor belied his violent ways. Henry McCarty was born on November 29, 1859, in New York City, but the family moved to Kansas when he was young. After his father died and his mother remarried, they headed to New Mexico, and Henry, now calling himself William H. Bonney, embarked on his lifelong criminal career. At age 15, he was jailed for stealing but escaped to Arizona, where he killed a man in a fight. Back in New Mexico, he joined the Lincoln County War, a brutal feud between rival cattle ranchers. He proved himself a fierce fighter and bullseye shot—killing both a sheriff and deputy. Now known as Billy the Kid, he was accused of murder, but the charges were dropped when he testified against his fellow outlaws. Though free, the experience didn’t change Billy. He stole cattle in Texas and was sentenced to hang. In jail, awaiting execution, Billy killed the guard, shot a deputy, and once again escaped. Sheriff Pat Garrett formed a posse and tracked Billy to a home in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and shot the trapped outlaw dead. Billy the Kid was 21.


*Images used are representative of Billy the Kid, portrayed by the actor in the series. They are not historical photos or illustrations.