Billy The Kid Research Paper

1803 Words 8 Pages
Throughout history, society and culture has consistently evolved and transformed ushering in better opportunities for people willing to work hard. During the 19th century, the United States began expanding westward exploring and settling its new territories all the way to the Pacific ocean. With this great expansion came the need to connect the nation from coast to coast, resulting in the development of a transcontinental railroad that could transport an individual across the expanse of the country in a single week. Portrayed as a land of limitless opportunity, many settlers moved West in search of a better, brighter future for themselves and their offspring. However, as prosperity flourishes within the system, there are always those seeking …show more content…
Primarily, he was known for committing thievery and murder, two actions considered crimes even in the “lawless” West. Theft is the unauthorized stealing of property from another with the intent to deprive them of such property. Correspondingly, “the Kid’s” main business was rustling cattle on the frontier’s vast plains (Andrews). However, thievery is far from his most egregious crime. Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being with intent and without justification and there were several notable instances when the notorious outlaw did just that. One legendary gunfight erupted at a New Mexican saloon. As legend describes, Joe Grant was drunkenly terrorizing the other patrons stating he would kill someone by night 's end. Consequently, “the Kid” fearlessly approached the man and remarked “That’s a might nice looking six-shooter you got there.” In a heartbeat, he stole the gun from Grant’s holster, spun its cylinder to an empty chamber, and casually handed it back. Further into the night, Grant whipped out the same revolver on “the Kid” attempting to fire a shot, except that the chamber was empty. Immediately, “the Kid” drew his own weapon and fired a shot, dropping Grant dead where he stood (Andrews). This senseless murder typifies how the cultural climate of the time reinforced, nay, encouraged the criminal actions of William …show more content…
In the latter part of the 19th century, the western states did not have the same level of law and order as its Eastern counterparts. Not only were there fewer lawmen, but also the unfortunate reality was that many were susceptible to bribes and coercion from frontiersman wanting to get ahead by any means necessary. It was this corruption and greed that truly facilitated the transformation of William McCarty, the hard working ranch hand into “Billy the Kid,” the notorious western gunslinger. Taken into perspective, were it not for the fact that Billy’s cattle rustling caught the eye of John Tunstall, who persuaded the young outlaw to work for him and the fact that Tunstall was a successful enough rancher that he posed a real threat to the local cattle barons, the events that preceded the crime wave of “Billy the Kid” would have never occurred (Forsyth, Blakely, and

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