The Billy the Kid Photo at a Glance


• His teeth appear to confirm what a contemporary said about the Kid:?“He could eat pumpkins through a picket fence.”

• The photo assistant’s hand can be seen holding the light reflector.

• Photo experts think the design on the Kid’s bib front shirt is an anchor.

• His sweater is at least two sizes too large. Some see a name tag sewn into the lining with the initials “PM.” Could the Kid have borrowed the sweater from Pete Maxwell?

• Billy wears a gambler’s pinkie ring.

• He carries an 1873 Winchester, which was popular with cowboys and outlaws because it chambered the same bullets as the .44 Colt, making it easier to carry spare shells.

• Behind the Kid’s right foot can be seen the leg of a stand used for stability during long exposures. Also check out his boots. Are these V-cut?

• On his head is an inexpensive slouch hat with a         side crease.

• While developing the wet plate, the photographer handled the bottom corners, leaving his thumbprints. Four exposures were on the tintype, and the image was reversed as shown  at top. This leads to the erroneous assumption that Billy the Kid was left handed.

Related Posts

  • billy-photo

    Late last year, our publisher emeritus, Robert G. McCubbin, received a phone call from a…

  • Billy the Kid

    Lily Casey was 14 when she met Billy the Kid in New Mexico.  She was…

  • Billy-the-Kid_feature-image_tin-type

    Early on the morning of July 18, 1881, mail contractor Michael Cosgrove pulled into Las…