The Billy The Kid Theory That Could Change Everything

Billy the Kid was the stuff of legend. Literally. More tall tales surround the Wild West superstar than flies on a horse's rear end (or some other countrified simile). Modern folks can't even agree on where the gunman is buried. The most widely accepted Billy the Kid gravesite is in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, but the good people of Hico, Texas, also make that claim to fame.

According to Atlas Obscura, the official story they tell in Fort Sumner says that the Kid was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garret in 1881, at the young age of 21 years old. He was said to have killed one man for each year of his life, but historians largely agree that that number is probably an exaggeration.

There are also those who believe that the story of Billy the Kid's spectacular and untimely death is itself a yarn spun by the gunman himself. Here's the Billy the Kid theory that could change everything about how we remember this Old West celeb.

Some say Billy the Kid didn't die in 1881

According to Roadside America, the management at Hico's Billy the Kid Museum say the New Mexicans are outright liars. "The grave in Fort Sumner has no body in it," said museum director Sue Land. "They have a grave, but unless you ask, they never mention not having a body." She and other Hico residents say that William "Brushy Bill" Roberts didn't die in a gunfight in 1881, but lived to be more than 90 years old, finally confessing to his controversial identity in 1950.

The folks in Hico ascribe to the theory that Billy the Kid didn't actually die that day in 1881, but faked his own death in order to make a clean getaway from the long arm of the law. Mental Floss notes that Brushy Bill was knowledgeable of several intimate details on the Kid's life and involvement in famous quarrels of the day.

But Brushy Bill isn't even the only person to claim to have been Billy the Kid. A man named John Miller also said that he was the famous sharpshooter, but DNA testing on his exhumed bones in 2005 revealed that Miller hadn't actually been Billy the Kid.