Gale Cooper’s 600 page book in hardcover and paperback, The Billy the Kid’s Bad Bucks Hoax: Faking Billy Bonney as a William Brockway Gang Counterfeiter, debunks that hoax as well as the hoaxes that led up to it: the Billy the Kid imposter hoaxes of “Brushy Bill” Roberts and John Miller, and the “forensic DNA” hoax of the “Billy the Kid Case.” Provided for contrast is the real history of Billy Bonney aka Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War freedom fight against the Santa Fe Ring, of which he was the people’s hero; and author Cooper’s crusade, by exposé books and open records litigation, to protect that history from profiteering charlatans.
From the time Billy Bonney aka Billy the Kid could comment on his own history, it had been obscured by fakery ranging from cover-up to profiteering.
On December 12, 1880, to New Mexico Territory’s Governor Lew Wallace, Billy objected about a December 3, 1880 Las Vegas Gazette article by its owner, J.H. Koogler, titled “Desperadoe’s Stronghold.” Declaring himself not an outlaw, he wrote: “I noticed in the Las Vegas Gazette a piece which stated that, Billy ‘the’ Kid, the name by which I am known in the Country was the captain of a Band of Outlaws who hold Forth at the Portales. There is no such Organization in Existence. So the Gentleman must have drawn very heavily on his Imagination.”
And that problem only got worse after Billy’s dramatic fatal shooting by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881. The outlaw mythology of Billy the Kid has continued to flood the media and public consciousness with lurid lies, leaving the real history masked, and the actual freedom fight of the Lincoln County War, with its hero Billy Bonney, lost in its sea of ignorance and obfuscation.
The history hoaxing that will be discussed in this book, harks back to the original, antiquated, outlaw mythology, which culminated in old-timer Billy the Kid imposter hoaxes of the mid-20th century, and their re-run in the 21st century with the “Billy the Kid Case” forensic DNA hoax. The motives of all were the promulgators’ self-aggrandizement and profiteering.
But arguably the strangest hoax to be spawned by this continuum of historical hijacking is the recent “Billy the Kid’s Bad Bucks” hoax, about a ruthless, despicable, informer-murdering, counterfeiting Billy the Kid, in cahoots with his day’s worst criminals - robber-murderer, Jesse James, and diabolically clever counterfeiter, William Brockway.
This travesty, like the past Billy the Kid imposter hoaxes, relies on public acceptance of Billy’s outlaw myth, since knowing the real history easily reveals it as preposterous.