The Empty Chamber

Billy the Kid tricked Joe Grant before killing him.

One of the strangest legends of Billy the Kid concerns Joe Grant. The two got into a row in Fort Sumner in January 1878. It continued into a saloon, where Grant was allegedly drunk. Billy asked to see Grant’s pistol, and unbeknownst to Grant, the Kid put the hammer on an empty chamber before returning it to its owner. As things heat up, Joe draws and fires at Billy—and hears only a click. The Kid pulls his weapon and shoots Grant in the head. The details are sketchy beyond that, including just who Joe Grant was.

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