DBWI: Billy the Kid shot dead in Fort Sumner

In the 14th of July 1881, in one of the most dramatic episodes of the American Wild West, recently escaped William H. Bonney alias Billy the Kid is staying in his friend's house at Fort Sumner when the sheriff of Lincoln County Pat Garrett arrived with a warrant of his arrest. Upon entering a darkened room that so happened to have Garrett and his posse, a confused Billy spoke Quien Es? (Who is it? in Spanish) before recognizing the man. What follows is the Shootout of Fort Sumner in which, Billy shot Garrett dead and injured the latter's deputies McKinney and Poe (the former of which would die of his wounds by dawn) before escaping. Bonney would then reemerge a few months later as the leader of the newly reformed Regulators, consisting of both survivors from the Lincoln County War as well as a number of Hispanics and Native Americans. This gang would go on to commit a number of high-profile murders, including cattle baron John Chisum, James Dolan the surviving leader of the Murphy-Dolan faction that ordered the murder of Bonney's employer John Tunstall, and most infamously, Lew Wallace, former governor of New Mexico territory and author of the American novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ. Bonney himself would be captured in May 3 1884 after a member within his gang betrayed his location and would be hanged in Santa Fe in November of that year.

With that in mind what would have happened if Pat Garrett was quicker to the trigger and killed Billy the Kid in Fort Sumner, thus ending the life of New Mexico's most infamous badmen and outlaw? How would the legend of Billy the Kid, gang-leader and killer as well as an icon for Mexican-Americans in the same vein as Joaquin Murrieta develop if his life was cut short on that dark night of July?
 
Well, that's gonna be a huge blow to the eventual Western genre - Billy the Kid's adventures have been a staple of the genre for generations, from the dime store novel era to the present. The influence of his life can even be seen in numerous films - especially when the Westerns began to take a counter-cultural political bent. Even more damning, his death will be before the birth of his son Henry McCarthy Jr who went on to become a best selling author, politician and eventually governor, and has been credited with popularizing and rehabilitating his father's image (and a pretty fascinating man in his own right, obviously).
 
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Well, that's gonna be a huge blow to the eventual Western genre - Billy the Kid's adventures have been a staple of the genre for generations, from the dime store novel era to the present. The influence of his life can even be seen in numerous films - especially when the Westerns began to take a counter-cultural political bent. Even more damning, his death will be before the birth of his son William Jr who went on to become a best selling author, politician and eventually governor, and has been credited with popularizing and rehabilitating his father's image (and a pretty fascinating man in his own right, obviously).
The Western genre, as well as country music, is pretty tightly intertwined with counter culture (Credence Clearwater Revival? Johnny Cash? Anyone?) and without Billy The Kid, and his polarizing influence, it probably becomes 'apolitical' the way superhero movies are. That's no fun.
 
Well, that's gonna be a huge blow to the eventual Western genre - Billy the Kid's adventures have been a staple of the genre for generations, from the dime store novel era to the present. The influence of his life can even be seen in numerous films - especially when the Westerns began to take a counter-cultural political bent. Even more damning, his death will be before the birth of his son William Jr who went on to become a best selling author, politician and eventually governor, and has been credited with popularizing and rehabilitating his father's image (and a pretty fascinating man in his own right, obviously).
There is still James Boys (Frank and Jessie) and Joaquin Murrieta. The former is known all too well (who in dime novels fought everything from Indians to a robotic horse) , but the latter - Joaquin inspired the story of Zorro, Zorro later partially inspired the story of Batman.
 
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There is still James Boys (Frank and Jessie) and Joaquin Murrieta. The former is known all too well (who in dime novels fought everything from Indians to a robotic horse) , but the latter - Joaquin inspired the story of Zorro, Zorro later partially inspired the story of Batman.
Yeah, but the James Boys are a bit too tied into Southron Revauncherism. I mean, they remain popular, yes, but they appeal to a certain subsection of the American public, and I'm not sure they could really reach the same level of appeal which Billy the Kid did - his role in the Cowboy Revolt as well as the political nature of many of his crimes resonate with a broader section of the American public than the James boys could ever hope to achieve. And his son's career before, during and after the Great Depression just kinda nailed that image home, I mean how many New Deal governors can claim they had a famous outlaw for a Pa? :)
 
Well probably no Cowboy Revolt
Yes, when surviving members if the gang fled to Arizona and joined forces with cattle rustlers in that area.
In the 14th of July 1881, in one of the most dramatic episodes of the American Wild West, recently escaped William H. Bonney alias Billy the Kid is staying in his friend's house at Fort Sumner when the sheriff of Lincoln County Pat Garrett arrived with a warrant of his arrest. Upon entering a darkened room that so happened to have Garrett and his posse, a confused Billy spoke Quien Es? (Who is it? in Spanish) before recognizing the man. What follows is the Shootout of Fort Sumner in which, Billy shot Garrett dead and injured the latter's deputies McKinney and Poe (the former of which would die of his wounds by dawn) before escaping. Bonney would then reemerge a few months later as the leader of the newly reformed Regulators, consisting of both survivors from the Lincoln County War as well as a number of Hispanics and Native Americans. This gang would go on to commit a number of high-profile murders, including cattle baron John Chisum, James Dolan the surviving leader of the Murphy-Dolan faction that ordered the murder of Bonney's employer John Tunstall, and most infamously, Lew Wallace, former governor of New Mexico territory and author of the American novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ. Bonney himself would be captured in May 3 1884 after a member within his gang betrayed his location and would be hanged in Santa Fe in November of that year.

With that in mind what would have happened if Pat Garrett was quicker to the trigger and killed Billy the Kid in Fort Sumner, thus ending the life of New Mexico's most infamous badmen and outlaw? How would the legend of Billy the Kid, gang-leader and killer as well as an icon for Mexican-Americans in the same vein as Joaquin Murrieta develop if his life was cut short on that dark night of July?
Probably not another confrontation at the Mexican border. After the capture of the Billy the Kid the rest of the gang led by member Chavez y Chavez who led them into Mexico. He raided the border for some time. In Washington the President after the death of Wallace had ordered the formation of a Vigilant Volunteer Cavalry militia to destroy the Regulators. This paramilitary group itself became ruthless and unlawful. They began to persecute the Mexican New Mexican population and even made raids into Mexico itself resulting into squirmishes with Mexican troops. All while failing to capture gang leader y Chavez. Eventually both countries had been at the bringe of a new war with radicals demanding the President to annex parts of Northern Mexico.
 
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