Jess C Scott. The Mighty Mountain of Theornin. De Kenyon. Mark Mulle. Aerie the Faery and the Unicorn. Brian Leo Lee. David Anthony. Fright Knight. Conjunction Issue 7 : Flight.
Joseph Trovarelli. Dusty and the Seven Shudder Sisters. D Michelle Gent. Words of the Prophecy: The Second Coming. David H. There is no denying the romance and attraction of Western-period events such as the trail-drive days, when great herds of Texas longhorns were driven to the railheads in faraway plains such as Abilene and Dodge City, Kansas; and Omaha and North Platte, Nebraska.
Compelling and profound is the impact made by the herder of that time, that uniquely North American figure so often reincarnated in the form of the enduring and noble figure of the American cowboy. This figure has transcended imagery to the point of becoming representative of nearly all that is Western. The mythical cowboy icon is nothing if not versatile.
It comes in limitless shapes, forms, colors, ethnic backgrounds, qualities, and editions; and each holds some appeal to various elements of American culture and society. One common image is that of the loner, the man of unknown origins who rode about the Western landscape working occasional trail drives or ranch jobs. Accompanied by little more than his horse and gun, the cowboy, at least in novels and film, could be counted on for such heroics as helping out damsels in distress, saving a ranch from a greedy banker, routing gangs of rustlers and train robbers, or simply exacting revenge when needed.
These images, with others, come and go now as much as they did in the past. Another figure from those times that has remained constant, however, is that of the outlaw.
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Pat Garrett Killed the Wrong Man 3 Why such an image should remain so persistent and pervasive is often debated, but one sentiment agreed on by most relates to the notion that Americans and others seem to need renegades. This has been explained in a number of ways, but most agree that the Western outlaw is an unusual package consisting of a variety of elements, many of which happen to be quite appealing. The outlaw is a man chased after and persecuted by authorities. His response is frequently interpreted as an expression of defiance, of standing up against his oppressors, political and economic.
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The outlaw is often characterized as fighting for his perceived rights. He is generally viewed as being free-spirited and rebellious; and Americans, as well as others, like to identify with that. Thanks to novels and films, the Western outlaw has evolved into a romantic figure, often cloaked in mystery and possessing a certain roguish charm. The outlaw has become a celebrity and folk hero. Imaginative bits and pieces taken from other stories often conveniently complete a desired picture with contradiction and easily detected errors coexisting with a few leading facts.
Scholars and hobbyists alike, however pure their motives, are responsible for clouding the image of the Kid; they have recorded legend and lore and presented it as historical fact. These figures are loved and in many ways idolized, cherished, and valued. Deeply etched into the consciousness, these enigmatic personalities remained alive in story, song, and film.
Society seems to nurture its favorite outlaw heroes, adding to their exploits over time, polishing the luster afforded them by earlier generations. From time to time, one or another of the more famous outlaws appears to return from his alleged demise, showing up years later. During the past century, dozens of men have come forth claiming to be the outlaw Jesse James, to have survived the cowardly shooting by Robert Ford in The most notable of these claimants was a man named J.
Frank Dalton, who lived well into his eighties. While questions still surround the death of James, none of the claimants, including Dalton, ever presented a coherent and defensible case for his identity. Likewise, many are convinced that the outlaw Butch Cassidy was not killed by soldiers in South America and that he returned to the United States and lived a long life among friends someplace in the West.
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The evidence that Cassidy was gunned down in a hail of bullets contains many loose ends consisting of conjecture and lore. However, the claim that the outlaw lived and returned to the United States was supported by a number of credible witnesses, including old friends and relatives who allegedly spent time with him following his reappearance. A preponderance of evidence exists that John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was not killed in a burning barn in Virginia in but escaped to live for at least another thirty-five years.
Though more than two dozen men have claimed to be Booth, the one who received the most publicity was a man who went by the aliases John St. Helen and David E. George confessed to an attorney that he was the famous assassin and that he had lived his life in hiding, corresponding occasionally with members of his famous family of actors.
Pat Garrett Killed the Wrong Man 5 Few of the claimants associated with these personalities were ever taken seriously. Though the evidence presented was often intriguing and provocative, subsequent investigation yielded little that could be considered supportive. In the cases of John Wilkes Booth and Butch Cassidy, the claims for their survival and return were advanced not by the principals themselves but by others who stumbled onto their identities. After being discovered by paralegal William V. Morrison in , William Henry Roberts was unable to keep his secret.
He had the look, the size, the features, and the scars. In addition, and perhaps more important, he knew too much.
This is significant because Roberts was illiterate and barely able to read and write. Confronted with substantial evidence by the persistent paralegal, Roberts broke down. In tears, he admitted he had been running and hiding from the law for most of his life and confessed his true identity—the outlaw Billy the Kid. Noted historian, folklorist, and writer C. The idea that he could be Billy the Kid ignited a controversy that persists into the twenty-first century. The claim was basically rejected outright, particularly by those faithful to the long-accepted history that maintains the Kid was killed by sheriff Pat Garrett in How could a man as notorious as Billy the Kid, an outlaw with an extremely high profile as a result of dime novels and film, remain hidden for seven decades?
Undaunted, Morrison was determined to conduct research into the background of Roberts, and he worked diligently to procure and provide evidence that the old man could be Billy the Kid. The well-intentioned Morrison was unfortunately not an experienced or qualified researcher. While he made some surprising discoveries, his attempts were unschooled. To further complicate the situation, Morrison intended to propel himself into the limelight with his discovery, in hopes of fame 6 Billy the Kid and money. Morrison made numerous mistakes, and his uncompromising manner alienated many who might have been sympathetic to his aims.
Morrison, in fact, became a target for the critics almost as much as Roberts was. For decades, many remained intrigued by the notion that William Henry Roberts could have been the famous outlaw Billy the Kid. Nagging doubts raised by the questionable accuracy of the recorded history of the Kid and the Lincoln County War refused to go away. The more Pat Garrett is studied and analyzed, the easier it is to conclude he was as much a promoter and prevaricator as lawman. The trunk contained several reels of taped conversations between Roberts and Morrison and copies of letters from Morrison to Roberts and others, including noted historians of the day.
This substantive evidence contradicted much of the traditional history of Billy the Kid that had been unconditionally accepted by nearly everyone who encountered it. In many ways, he was a runof-the-mill, hard-luck cattle rustler, no more or no less colorful or noteworthy than most of his companions. Despite that, Billy the Kid entered Western legend a short time after his alleged death at the hands of sheriff Pat Garrett, and there he remains, more than a century later. There are two principal reasons for this.
Dime novels regaled readers with the adventures and heroics of authentic and made-up characters of the Wild West.
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Novelists either colored the truth or ignored it altogether. They often manufactured events to keep the excitement level high and the plot moving. Garrett, Sheriff of Lincoln County, N. In the years following the publication of Authentic Life, hundreds, if not thousands, of subsequent books, articles, pamphlets, and films perpetuated the mistaken notions originally generated by the Garrett—Upson exaggerations and lies. As a result, there emerged a tacit agreement on a history of the Kid, including bits and pieces of a contrived genealogy, a chronology of his geographic wanderings, his involvement in the Lincoln County War, his arrests, his escapes, the number of men he killed, and his death.
The biography, in one form or another, eventually became the standard found in nearly every published book and film on the life of Billy the Kid.
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He was named Henry and had an older brother, Joseph. Their father was believed to be a man named Edward McCarthy, a peddler who already had a wife. After drifting around New Mexico for a time, the family settled in Silver City, where Catherine died from consumption.