The Hispanic version of the Billy the Kid story has finally arrived three decades after it was predicted.


“Billy the Kid” Cover Courtesy University of North Texas Press


Back in 1991, before my first of three books on Billy the Kid was published, I attended a big symposium in Ruidoso, New Mexico, featuring all the heavyweight Kid scholars. Fred Nolan was there, as were Robert Utley, Paul Andrew Hutton and many others. During the three-day event, speaker after speaker predicted that the next big book on the Kid would be from the Hispanic point of view. And to a person, they all agreed it was long overdue.

Well, I am happy to report that the book has finally arrived three decades later and from an author half a world away. Three years ago I was contacted via email by James B. Mills who wanted to contact Lynda Sánchez, an authority on the Kid’s amigo Yginio Salazar. I knew Lynda would be a solid resource for this saucy punk from Down Under, and she would also connect him with Chuck Usmar, another excellent researcher. Full disclosure, he can be a pistol, and I often call him the Little Aussie Bastard, and he calls me The Yankee Wanker. His book is a good one and he has great taste in art. Here, for the first time, is an excerpt from his book on the funeral of the Kid from the people who were actually there. All of it long overdue and a wonderful addition to the Kid library.


Buckeye’s Kid Shrine. Image of Billy the Kid statue Courtesy Buckeye Blake


On a related note, our Kid Kompadre, Buckeye Blake, has a brilliant idea for a museum piece at the Old Fort Sumner gravesite. We have featured his sculpture on the cover, and it would make an excellent pièce de résistance at the long-closed Kid graveyard. Several friends of the magazine are planning big things over there, and while it’s too early to make an announcement, let’s all root for them to make it happen with Buckeye’s sculpture as the centerpiece.


The Kid Serenaded at Casa de Patron
One of my favorite spots on the planet is Casa de Patron in Lincoln, New Mexico. When my family stayed there in the nineties, you could feel the presence of the Kid. That inspired me to do two different versions of this scene, above, based on Lew Wallace’s first person description, “I heard singing and music the other night; going to the door, I found the minstrels of the village actually serenading the fellow in his prison.” Artwork by Bob Boze Bell

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