THE TRAGIC DAYS OF BILLY THE KID
Facsimile of 1956 Edition with a New Foreword by Robert G. McCubbin
By Frazier Hunt
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Since a July night in 1881 when he was shot down at the age of 21, Billy the Kid has been a victim of the myths that surrounded and captured him. This vivid interpretation of the Kid’s life and character will come as an exciting revelation to readers who may have been familiar only with the earlier fictionalized versions. For here is real, moving tragedy painted in broad brush strokes with the vivid hues of the stark American Southwestern landscape.
Never before has there been brought into true focus the Lincoln County War, which broke out in 1878 in the then Territory of New Mexico, and which furnished the background and the period for the adventures of this extraordinary boy. The literature concerning both the desperate cattle war and the singular young outlaw have necessarily been constructed around a thin framework of fact with its papier maché façade of myth and legend.
So persistent have been these legends that the true character of the Kid seemed almost beyond reach. Indeed, the Western poet, Arthur Chapman, once wrote that “Billy the Kid must remain wholly the most unaccountable figure in frontier history.”
Frazier Hunt (1885 – 1968) had the good fortune to have access to a great mass of fresh and unpublished source material which fully documents this thrilling history of the Kid and his times. It is a new and rather appealing boy who now comes to light—an alert, likeable yet tough youngster, adored by the native Mexicans no less for his fluency in Spanish than for his kindness and consideration, but no wanton killer. In place of the former distorted figure of legend, a young man of flesh and blood and heart emerges into clear perspective. So at last we have the real Billy the Kid—authentic, true—and completely accountable.
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