He Died with His Boots Off

Billy Thompson True West Magazine
Billy Thompson.

The legend says that Billy Thompson—brother of gunfighter Ben Thompson—met his end in a shootout with Mexicans in Arizona.  It seemed plausible. Billy had killed four men in his time and was almost as notorious as his brother.

The truth is simpler.  Billy died of a stomach abscess at Houston’s St. Joseph’s Hospital in September 1897.  He was 52. Reportedly, he stayed out of trouble—but continued making his living at the gambling tables–after brother Ben was gunned down in 1884.

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