Billy the Kid : The Endless Ride

Michael Wallis

Wallis is an author out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. His previous books include a popular history of Route 66 and a biography of Pretty Boy Floyd. Wallis continues his examination of 'outlaws' with this book. The book is well researched and the author interviewed everyone in New Mexico he could find that might help him. It is probably the definitive account of the life of Billy the Kid.

The most interesting thing about the book is the fact that everything we know about Billy the Kid is probably wrong. Most of it is made up and is not true. He wasn't 'homely' or 'ugly', he was not left-handed, and he did not kill 21 men before his 21st birthday. He was involved (on the wrong side, as it turns out) in what has become known as the Lincoln County Range War. He was killed by Pat Garrett, but he was probably armed with only a knife at the time. He was apparently smart, he could speak Spanish fluently, he was well liked in the community, and he was something of a ladies' man. He was a trusted employee and a loyal friend. He is known to have killed three men (maybe more, but that is speculation). One was in self defence when he was 17, and two others when he escaped jail before he was tracked down and killed. Not exactly the stuff of legends, but his young age and reputation make him fair game for the pulp writers of his day. Most stories about him are false.

An interesting read, but for many people it would be more than they would want to know about 'the Kid'.