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He Only Killed Four Men – Interview With Billy the Kid Expert, Fred Nolan

“He came straightforwardly towards me. Before he arrived at the bed, I murmured: ‘Who is it, Pete?’ however got no answer for a minute. It struck me that it may be Pete’s brother by marriage, Manuel Abreu, who had seen Poe and McKinney, and needed to know their business. The gatecrasher approached me, inclined two hands on the bed, his correct hand practically contacting my knee, and asked, in a low tone: – ‘Who are they Pete?’ – at a similar moment Maxwell murmured to me. ‘That is him!’ Simultaneously the Kid more likely than not seen, or felt, the nearness of a third individual at the leader of the bed. He raised rapidly his gun, a self-cocker, inside a foot of my bosom. Withdrawing quickly over the room he cried: ‘Quien es? Quien es?’ ‘Who’s that? Who’s that?’) All this happened in a minute. Rapidly as conceivable I drew my gun and shot, tossed my body aside, and discharged once more. The subsequent shot was pointless; the Kid fell dead. He never talked. A battle or two, a touch of choking sound as he wheezed for breath, and the Kid was with his numerous exploited people.”

Pat Garrett’s declaration.


Fred Nolan is viewed as one of the world’s chief Billy the Kid specialists. His book The West of Billy The Kid is conisdered perhaps the best investigation of the legend ever published.As a writer he has written numerous westerns, just as working effectively in different kinds. He added five portions to the Sudden arrangement, a western character initially made by Oliver Strange. Among his spine chillers is The Oshawa Project which was taped by MGM and featuring Sophia Loren and Robert Vaughn. In all the writer is answerable for more than 70 books.

Anyway when The Archive cornered the essayist it was with the legend of Billy The Kid that we were concerned.

What is the proceeding with interest with Billy the KID?

“The appropriate response would rely on how profoundly you need to get into the mechanics of unrealistic reasoning, the spot of our legend in history and reality, the verifiable test and concurrent inconceivability of illuminating an insoluble recorded question, of ever appropriately setting up what his identity was, the place he was conceived, who his dad was, the place he went through the initial ten years or so of his life … be that as it may, I think there are likewise more extensive issues, which have to do with our requirement for saints and fantasy (and for some odd reason, trust), with previously established inclinations formed by where we grew up and who we did it with, what we read and what we saw on TV or at the films when we were at a naive age. Billy really is a youngster for all seasons; that short and rough life, that change from destitute child to deathless legend reshaping itself once more for each succeeding age”

As you would see it have any of the film forms of The Kid approached reality?

“The short answer is no. I think maybe if Jack Beutel, who played the Kid in The Outlaw, could have had the Kris Kristofferson influence in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, we may we may have had the conclusive picture.”

Was Billy psychoctic?

“I am genuinely certain that he was not “experiencing a psychological issue where thought and feelings are hindered to the point that contact is lost with outside reality”(OED). However, he realized how to remain alive in a world and a period that you and I may get ourselves unfit to adapt to. On the off chance that you need a sample of it, read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.”

There is just one validated picture of Billy the Kid yet numerous others professing to be the fugitive. Do you think any about these different photos are certifiable?

“Increasingly unrealistic reasoning without a doubt there must be another photograph of him out there some place, something that doesn’t make him resemble (as Burton Rascoe put it) “a dull, adenoidal, weasel-peered toward, limited chested, stoop-bore horrible looking animal with all the outward appearance of a loser”? Obviously, I’ve seen many photographs that could in all likelihood be the Kid, however they all come up short on that one indispensable factor – a provenance, verification that they’re the genuine article. ”

The epithet “THE KID” was a conventional term in the Old West and regularly given to any youngster who fell into issue with the law. Clearly there were numerous killings credited to Billy that he did now, proved unable, in certainty have done. What number of men, as you would like to think, did he execute?

“To the extent we know he coordinated slaughtered just four men: Frank Cahill, James Bell, Bob Olinger and Red Grant. He was included, to what accurate degree we can’t make certain, in various others, basically posse killings: Morton, Baker, McCloskey, Brady, Hindman, Roberts, Bernstein and so forth. It is impossible at this late point proof will ever surface connecting him with others we know not of. Furthermore, there is, all things considered, a considerable amount of incongruity in the expression “he slaughtered just four men” … only????”

What is your feeling on Brushy Bill who professed to be Billy the Kid and still causes a lot of discussion over his actual personality?

“Oliver P. “Brushy Bill” Roberts was only a miserable, basic elderly person who engaged in something whose implications were path past his psychological limit; and the strain of doing it presumably slaughtered him. His family’s Bible shows he was conceived in 1879, which implies he would have been two when Billy the Kid was slaughtered. He had recently professed to be an individual from the Jesse James posse. He was only no one important who needed so seriously to be a someone, yet that hasn’t prevented the pie in the sky masterminds from unrealistic reasoning.”

Why at that point are the specialists despise to enable Billy’s grave to be uncovered for DNA testing to fathom the puzzle for the last time?

“The specialists (and a great deal of students of history, me among them) were less against the possibility of DNA tests being taken, concerning the suggestion that since (a) precisely finding the exact spot where the Kid is covered is beyond the realm of imagination and (b) there is no chance to get of being sure certain that regardless of whether the gravesite were exhumed, the remaining parts if there were any there-would be the Kid, or Bowdre, or Folliard, or just another person who had been covered there before they were. Also, (c) what was the DNA to be contrasted and? The Kid’s mom in her Silver City grave? Yet, exactly similar issues exist there-no conviction about the siting of the grave, or that she is in it or just close by. So (d) what might be the point?”

Speculative – Garrett didn’t murder the Kid – what occurred straightaway?

“Alright, how about we unfetter our minds and seek after your theory. Garrett slaughters somebody in Pete Maxwell’s room. He/they guarantee it was the Kid and speedily put him into a box which is fixed so nobody can see the body and afterward hurriedly covered following day. Presently everybody needs to take Garrett’s and Maxwell’s assertion that it was the Kid, and none of the families living in Fort Sumner, or any of their relatives in the following hundred and twenty-odd years, will ever address it or ever tell anybody this was what they were told/consented to do. Difficult to accept, isn’t that so? (We’re ignoring for a minute that none of this is the thing that Garrett and Poe said occurred, or that a coroner’s jury saw the body and confirmed it was the Kid). The equivalent must be valid for the suggestion that another person – a “Billy Barlow,” state – was covered and Billy the Kid escaped. In 1881 Fort Sumner was a truly little network, say greatest a hundred people. All things being equal, it is extremely unlikely known to man that you could quiet every one of them and all their kinfolk (at that point and later on) so totally that nobody, not a solitary one, at any point confessed or even indicated the mystery. I once made a rundown of the families who were on the record as having known Billy and whose kinfolk and relatives would have needed to keep up this promise of quietness and it would at this point have included well over a thousand people. You know the standard: two individuals can conceal up to one of them is dead.”

Legend expresses that when Garrett killed The Kid he was just 21 yet the general assessment nowadays assumes he was around 26. What is your assessment?

“I’d generally thought Billy was more youthful, not more seasoned than 21, putting together that suggestion with respect to our failure to discover a record of his introduction to the world or even his reality in enumeration and different records. Hitherto, I have been pondering whether that hypothesis ought to be surrendered. The Kid was in Fort Sumner in 1881 when the registration was taken and around then he said he was 22 and conceived in Missouri. For what reason should that not be valid – on the grounds that we don’t care for it? There are Bonney families in Missouri records he may have fitted into, and there is at any rate one McCarty family there that may have been his mother’s. Be that as it may, such as everything else associated with Billy, it can’t be demonstrated and it’s not really likely it ever will.”

Will the secret of The Kid ever be cleared up?

“Which secret did you have as a main priority? The secret of his introduction to the world? The puzzle of his dad’s personality? The riddle of where he grew up? The riddle of what he truly resembled? The riddle of why he was executed? (Speculative inquiry: Garrett had two outfitted agents remaining behind Billy and he had the drop – for what reason didn’t he simply capture him?). The appropriate response, old buddy, is blowin’ in the breeze …”



  • The Oshawa Project (distributed in the US as The Algonquin Project, a blockbuster on the two sides of the Atlantic, later taped as Brass Target)
  • The Mittenwald Syndicate – another top rated spine chiller about the Reichsbank burglary in Germany toward the finish of World War Two.
  • Carver’s Kingdom – A verifiable novel about the structure of the American Transcontinental railroad
  • White Nights, Red Dawn – A verifiable novel set in the midst of the disturbance of the Russian Revolution.
  • A Promise of Glory – A verifiable novel about an American family during the Revolution
  • Blind Duty – A verifiable novel about a similar family during the Civil War.
  • Field of Honor – A verifiable novel about a family during the Spanish-American War

Wolf Trap – A spine chiller about the 1942 death of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague.

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