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Western Spotlight: Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid is both a notorious outlaw and a beloved folk hero. A 19th century frontier bandit, William H. Bonney’s life has become a mighty legend that has been thoroughly explored and mythologized in countless films. Even though he died at the tender age of 21, Billy left quite a history. The authenticity of this legacy is debatable but his involvement in the Lincoln County War and his notoriety as a gambler and cattle rustler are all true but much of his reputation was built on highly exaggerated accounts of his exploits. After his death things got even more “enhanced” by newspaper reporters, authors and filmmakers. Billy the Kid’s filmography is filled with a wide range of films featuring everything from low-budget poverty row westerns to spaghetti westerns to Sam Peckinpah films to goofy 80s revisionist westerns like Young Guns. According to Hollywood, Billy the Kid not only “met” Dracula he eventually became a vampire himself and time traveled with Bill and Ted. Scarecrow’s spotlight section also includes several documentaries that shed some light on the “real” Billy the Kid.

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