Wild West


The young man that Miguel Antonio Otero Jr. observed in the plaza in Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory, appeared a cheerful beardless youth, not a desperate outlaw. He wore a sombrero tilted back atop a mop of light brown hair above sharp blue eyes, an aquiline nose and a thin upper lip that accentuated protruding front teeth and an often ready smile. Standing about 5 feet 9 inches tall with a slender frame, the youth was hardly imposing. Only the shackles linking him to fellow prisoner Dave Rudabaugh hinted at his status as a desperado who had wreaked havoc during the violent Lincoln County War two years earlier.

The date was Dec. 27, 1880, and the young man Otero had encountered was Billy the Kid (as newspapers had recently christened him). Having been captured by a posse led by recently elected Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett, the Kid awaited transport by train to Santa Fe, the territorial capital. So intrigued by the young outlaw was 21-year-old Otero that he would make the same train journey, along with older brother Page and father Miguel, during which he would befriend Bilito, as many Hispanos (Southwesterners of Spanish descent) affectionately called the Kid.

The younger Otero visited Billy in the Santa Fe jail, taking him cigarette papers, tobacco, chewing gum, candy, pies and nuts. “He was very fond of sweets and asked us to bring him all we could,” Otero recalled. “He was always in a pleasant humor when I saw him—laughing, sprightly and good natured.” Authorities soon transported Billy south to Mesilla for trial. In the months that followed he was sentenced to death by hanging, made an infamous jailbreak in Lincoln and, on July 14, 1881, met his end when surprised by Sheriff Garrett in Fort Sumner.

While Billy the Kid entered the annals of infamy, Miguel Antonio Otero

Vous lisez un aperçu, inscrivez-vous pour en lire plus.

Plus de Wild West

Wild West6 min de lectureMedical
Top 10 Reasons Billy Was More ‘Outlaw’ Than Jesse
1 The Name: Sure, “Jesse James” rolls off the tongue pretty easily, but it doesn’t have the same level of panache or commercial appeal as “Billy the Kid.” 2 The Jailbreak: It wasn’t Jesse who made the most dramatic and memorable jailbreak in American
Wild West6 min de lectureCrime & Violence
Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!
Statehood petitions in 1849, 1856, 1862, 1872 and 1882 hadn’t led to the desired result in Utah Territory, mainly because of hostility in Washington, D.C., toward the Mormon Church and its practice of polygamy. Congress had created Utah Territory in
Wild West2 min de lecture
Settler’s Spencer
In the late 1970s I purchased a Spencer for the bargain price of $140. Direct from the Dakota prairie, it had deficiencies—a missing magazine tube and cover; a shortened bullet guide and missing bullet guide spring; a modified loop lever, to ape a Wi