Aka: billy the kid

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William Henry McCarty jr.



General Background:

  • Billy the kid killed his first man at the age of 18.

  • He was a frontier outlaw in the American Old West

  • He was described by people as very friendly and personable.

  • In 1881 New Mexico’s Governor, Lew Wallace, placed a bounty on Billy the kid.

  • His stepfather William Antrim became involved in prospecting and gambling to make a living and was very rarely home with his wife and step sons.

  • His mother died when he was only 14 years old.

  • Started to live with a neighboring family. This Family owned a hotel where William worked to own his keep. Supposedly he was a very well behaved young man and his school teachers always said he was willing to help around the schoolhouse.

  • He read many “dime novels” which romanticized crime.

  • When his foster family began to have problems he started to live in a boarding house which is when he started to lash out.

Billy the kid was only 15 when he committed his first crime. After this he was involved in crime for the rest of his life.


  • Stealing cheese – Arrested

  • Caught wearing clothes and a firearm that was stolen from a laundry owner. – Jail time

  • Escaped from jailhouse. – Distinguished as a Fugitive

  • Horse thievery business – not charged

  • Shot a man in a fight - not charged

  • Joined gang of cattle rustlers who raided sprawling herds of cattle (Jesse Evans Gang). – Not charged

  • Joined the regulators, leader John Tunstall was killed and in the aftermath Mccarty (Billy the kid) was arrested.

  • Killed sheriff Brady who had arrested Mccarty before. – Not charged till later

  • Hunted down murderer of Frank McNab, ( Part of regulators) and killed him. – not charged

  • McCarty agreed to testify in front of grand jury in return for amnesty. (a pardon from an offense) – a short time in jail and was supposed to be released after trial.

  • John Dolan (district attorney) did not listen to Wallaces orders to release Mccarty and he escaped jail using horses provided by friends. – not charged

  • McCarty was taken prisoner by Sheriff Pat Garrett. Garrett took McCarty to testify in court and was found guilty for the murder of Sheriff Brady and was sentenced to hang. His scheduled time to hang was 2 days after the sentence and he was under surveillance by 2 guards. McCarty killed both guards and escaped his holding sell and rode away on horseback.

  • McCarty walked into his friend’s house while Pat Garrette and a deputy were speaking to his friend about Mccarty. Mccarty was shot on sight and killed.


  • ''People thought me bad before, but if ever I should get free, I'll let them know what bad means.''---Billy the Kid to a reporter from the Daily New Mexican after his capture at Stinking Springs.

  • ''I have done everything that I promised you I would and you have done nothing that you promised me.''---Billy the Kid, in a letter to Gov. Lew Wallace, dated March 4, 1881.

Criminal Nickname


Theory- Differential – Association

Billy the kid started his crimes at an extremely young age. As a young child his stepfather was rarely home and out gambling. His only real role models were his mother and his neighboring family he lived with. After he was no longer with them and on his own is when he started his deviant acts. He was too young to be on his own and was never fully taught how to act and what was right and what was wrong. While at the boarding house it was very popular for kids to steal things because they had to. They needed food and supplies so they stole it because they had no money. This made McCarty think it was alright to do these things.

McCarty joined gangs at a young age and therefore was always around killings and death. McCarty most likely thought this was normal and went along with what his older “peers” were doing. McCarty never had that great of a life and didn’t understand that there were better things out there then commiting deviant crimes because that is what he had learned from a young age. I believe Differential-association suits Billy the Kid best because he never knew anything other than deviance. He grew up around it and involved in it.


  • Frontier Fighter (1934), a first-hand account of the Lincoln County War from George W. Coe.

  • Billy The Kid (1958), a serial poem by Jack Spicer.

  • Billy the Kid was published in 1962 as an episode in the ongoing adventures of Lucky Luke by Goscinny and Morris.

  • El bandido adolescente ("The teenage outlaw") (1965), a biography written by Spanish author Ramón J. Sender.

  • Lincoln County War (1968), The definitive history of the Lincoln County War, by Maurice G. Fulton.

  • The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left-handed Poems, by Michael Ondaatje, 1970 Governor General's Award-winning biography in the form of experimental poetry.

  • The Illegal Rebirth of Billy the Kid is a science fiction novel by Rebecca Ore, published in 1991.

  • Anything for Billy is a 1988 novel by Larry McMurtry.

  • Lucky Billy: a novel about Billy the Kid is a 2008 novel by John Vernon, a professor at Binghamton University.


  • Billy the Kid, a 1911 silent film directed by Laurence Trimble and starring Tefft Johnson. All copies are believed to be lost.

  • Billy the Kid, 1930 widescreen film directed by King Vidor and starring Johnny Mack Brown as Billy and Wallace Beery as Pat Garrett[143]

  • Billy the Kid Returns, 1938: Roy Rogers plays a dual role, Billy the Kid and his dead-ringer lookalike who shows up after the Kid has been shot by Pat Garrett.

  • Billy the Kid, 1941 remake of the 1930 film, starring Robert Taylor and Brian Donlevy

  • Bob Steele and Buster Crabbe played Billy the Kid in a series of 42 western films from 1940 through 1946, released by Poverty Row studio Producers Distributing Corporation. Some of the titles include Blazing FrontierThe RenegadeCattle Stampede, and Western Cyclone (1943).[144] In a 1952 film, Allan "Rocky" Lane goes after Billy the Kid's lost treasure.

  • The Outlaw, Howard Hughes' 1943 motion picture starring Jack Buetel as Billy and featuring Jane Russell in her breakthrough role as the Kid's fictional love interest.

  • I Shot Billy the Kid, a 1950 film directed by William Berke and starring Don "Red" Barry as Billy.

  • The Kid from Texas (1950) starring Audie Murphy as Billy the Kid

  • The Law vs. Billy the Kid (1954, Columbia Pictures Corporation) starring Scott Brady as the Kid, James Griffith as Pat Garrett, Betta St. John as Nita Maxwell, and Alan Hale, Jr.as Bob Ollinger

  • The Left Handed Gun, Arthur Penn's 1958 motion picture based on a Gore Vidal teleplay, starring Paul Newman as Billy and John Dehner as Garrett

  • The Boy from Oklahoma (1954), with Tyler MacDuff in the role of Billy the Kid[145]

  • One-Eyed Jacks (1961), is the only film directed by Marlon Brando, who also played its lead character, Rio. This story is from an adaptation by Rod Serling of a Charles Neider novelization of Billy the Kid's life, with a later revision by Sam Peckinpah among others.

  • Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966), directed by William Beaudine, has Count Dracula, played by John Carradine, traveling to the Old West, where he takes a shine to Billy's fiancee and tries to turn her into a vampire. Chuck Courtney co-stars as Billy.

  • I'll Kill Him and Return Alone, a 1967 "spaghetti Western" directed by Julio Buchs, starred Peter Lee Lawrence as Billy and Fausto Tozzi as Pat Garrett.

  • Chisum (1970), set during the Lincoln County War, was directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and stars Geoffrey Deuel as Billy and Glenn Corbett as Pat Garrett.

  • Dirty Little Billy (1972), set during Billy's early years as a criminal, starred Michael J. Pollard.

  • Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Sam Peckinpah's 1973 motion picture with Kris Kristofferson as Billy, James Coburn as Pat Garrett, and with a soundtrack by Bob Dylan, who also appears in the movie

  • Young Guns, Christopher Cain's 1988 motion picture starring Emilio Estevez as Billy and Patrick Wayne as Pat Garrett

  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) features Billy the Kid (played by Dan Shor) as the "Historical Figure" that Bill and Ted pick up in the Old West.

  • Gore Vidal's Billy the Kid,[146] Gore Vidal's 1989 film starring Val Kilmer as Billy and Duncan Regehr as Pat Garrett

  • Young Guns II, Geoff Murphy's 1990 motion picture starring Emilio Estevez as Billy and William Petersen as Pat Garrett

  • Purgatory, Uli Edel's 1999 made-for-TV movie starring Donnie Wahlberg as Deputy Glen/Billy The Kid

  • Requiem for Billy the Kid, Anne Feinsilber's 2006 motion picture starring Kris Kristofferson.

  • Birth of a Legend, a 2011 film in two parts based on Frederick Nolan's book The Lincoln County War: A Documentary History directed by Andrew Wilkinson

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