Billy The Kid facts



  • NICK NAME: “Billy The Kid”
  • REAL NAME: William Henry McCarty Jr.
  • OCCUPATION: Outlaw, Criminal
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 1859 (exact year and month still disputed)
  • DATE OF DEATH: July, 1881
  • PLACE OF BIRTH: New York (disputed)
  • PLACE OF DEATH: Fort Sumner, New Mexico
  • AKA: “Kid Antrim”
  • AKA: The Kid
  • AKA: Henry Antrim
  • AKA: William H. Bonney

There are many rumours and stories circulating about Billy the Kid but lets try an separate the facts.

Billy the kid killed his first man aged 12 who had insulted his mother

False.  The first man The Kid is known to have killed was an Arizona blacksmith called Frank “Windy” Cahill who often bullied and tormented The Kid especially in front of others. One day Billy had had enough and called Cahill a “son of a bitch”. Cahill then jumped on Billy and started to beat him up. The kid then reached for his pistol and shot Cahill. Cahill died the following day and Billy was only 16 years of age. The kid fearing imprisonment left Arizona and returned to New Mexico and sharpened his shooting skills by being involved in the Lincoln County War for the following 4 years.


Billy the Kid was left-handed

False. Billy the kid was right handed, although he could also use his left just as well. The main reason for this myth is that in the famous tintype photograph of him he is seen wearing the holster of his gone to the left hand side. This was even the bases of a 1958  film about him, “The Left-Handed Gun.” In fact tintype photographs are actually mirror images, so the holster would have been on his right hand side.

In the picture below the image of Billy on the left is the original tintype (mirror) image, where as the image on the right is how he would of really have been standing for the picture.

Billy kid mirror image 

Billy the kid had bucked teeth and was ugly

True & False.  Billy did have to front teeth that protruded when his mouth was open or smiling however many accounts call him handsome, quick witted and charming.  Here is one description “He is about five feet eight or nine inches tall, slightly built and lithe, weighing about 140; a frank, open countenance, looking like a school boy, with the traditional silky fuzz on his upper lip; clear blue eyes, with a roguish snap about them; light hair and complexion. He is, in all, quite a handsome looking fellow, the only imperfection being two prominent front teeth slightly protruding like squirrel’s teeth, and he has agreeable and winning ways.” Las Vegas Gazette, December 27, 1881 

pat garrettPat Garrett

Billy escaped Garrett and lived to become an old man

False.  Sheriff Pat Garrett shot billy in a dark room in Pete Maxwel’s house. The bullet which was lodged just above his heart killed him. Many saw his body after his death.


The Kid wasn’t just an outlaw he had several normal jobs while growing up

True. Henry worked in several different jobs which included a butcher shop and in a hotel where he washed dishes and served as a waiter. He also worked as a ranch hand, before turning to less honest ways of making a living which included gambling, horse thief.




2 thoughts on “Billy The Kid facts”

  1. The shooting of Cahill took place outside of Camp Grant (Fort Grant today) at a cluster of stores that served the locals, ranchers, and Camp Grant. There was also a stage stop there.

    I live in Safford, Arizona having married a local. The story is he was not a blacksmith at Camp Grant, but he was a local. Cahill was shot in front of one of the stores, not at Camp Grant.

    Today two or three buildings still stand where the shooting took place. The area is called Bonita today.

    Billy the Kid lived in Silver City, New Mexico, my old stomping grounds. It is not very far from Safford, Arizona with modern transportation. But by horse it would have taken a few days for Billy to get back to Silver City, especially since it is in mountainous terrain.

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