With New Billy the Kid Letter Authenticated by Gale Cooper

Billy the kid's Writings
Comes in Hardcover and Paperback

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Billy the Kid’s Writings, Words, and Wit is the definitive study of the written and spoken legacy of Old West icon, William H. Bonney, known as Billy the Kid. Its almost 600 pages have 93 illustrations of period documents.

All Billy Bonney’s known communications are presented in full and annotated: deposition, court transcript, bill of sale, letters, and newspaper interviews. And originals of all Billy’s writings are reproduced in an appendix. In the book is also a new and historically important Billy the Kid letter, authenticated by the author.

The text portrays him as a freedom fighter in the lost multi-cultural Lincoln County War, and presents his failed pardon negotiations with Territorial Governor Lew Wallace. Implications of his literacy are brought to the present, by discussion of the modern Santa Fe Ring’s hijack attempt on his history.

The book’s bibliography, list of consultants, and index demonstrate its multiple and varied foundation sources.



Revolutionary uprisings yield heroes and villains because historians may be the second oldest profession, catering to victors. One such victim is Billy Bonney, made infamous by his enemies as “Billy the Kid;” and still lurching between personas of illiterate homicidal outlaw or literate freedom fighter.

As Billy’s revisionist historian, my focus is on New Mexico Territory’s robber barons, who killed him to conceal their crimes; until his glaring fame exposed them as the monstrous Santa Fe Ring: spawned in his lifetime and continuing to ours. Fittingly, Billy’s own writings and words vindicate him from old mythology and historians’ conservatism, while exposing the political rapacity and hypocrisy of foes that that set his fate.

Billy Bonney’s life spanned the heyday of America’s dream of a limitless Frontier. In that vast southwest, where skydome met horizon’s perimeter of mountainous desert plains, lived townspeople impassioned by liberties won in their recent Civil War and founding Revolutionary War. Waning of Frontier optimism came not from barbed wire’s segmenting open range, not from railroads’ ending cattle drives and cowboys, but from emergence of two Americas: one a power elite, the other its increasingly disenfranchised majority - tyranny’s formula.

Billy lived at this tipping point.

And he, with others, fought the Lincoln County War; believing that only sixty men - Hispanic, Anglo, and African-American - could stop a political machine. They almost did, in five days, before illegal military intervention in the service of Santa Fe Ring domination, defeated them on the sixth.

Billy Bonney further threatened Ring domination by his atypical multiculturalism, which, in racist times, united Anglos and Hispanics; the latter often land-grab victims after their lost Mexican-American War. Its 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceded northern Mexico - five hundred twenty-five thousand square miles - to the United States. Though promised protection, stranded Mexicans became prey to Anglo attorneys using Congressional demand for title proof to steal their holdings. Those profits transmogrified into the Santa Fe Ring.

Ultimately, Billy Bonney’s fatal bullet, from a New Mexico Territory lawman’s gun, was released from Washington, D.C. Could Billy, the downtrodden people’s hero, have instigated another uprising? That bullet was the Ring’s answer.


Being revisionist history, Billy the Kid’s Writings, Words, and Wit analyzes everything from Billy Bonney’s Spencerian penmanship to his intellectual brilliance, placing his words in the context of his times, and including writings of his contemporaries: friends and foes. The reader is also transported into the virtual reality of his world by excerpts from the author’s docufiction novel, Joy of the Birds, which provide psychological and historical insights into the people impacting Billy’s writings and words. Billy is portrayed as a last surviving freedom fighter from the 1878, multi-cultural Lincoln County War uprising against the corrupt Santa Fe Ring political cabal, which his side lost. Analyzed also are his failed negotiations for a pardon for his Lincoln County War murder indictments, sought from hypocritical Territorial Governor Lew Wallace, more interested in completing his future bestseller, Ben Hur, and getting an ambassadorship to Turkey, than in achieving justice for the Territory’s beleaguered citizens.

Furthering comprehension of Billy Bonney’s personality, is presentation of his ironic wit: present in his writings and newspaper interviews. Revealed is not only his quick mind, but his cocky courage in the face of political injustice. About his impending hanging, he merely joked to a reporter that the laugh was on him. The historical matrix for Billy Bonney’s writings, words, and wit is expanded by a section summarizing his entire history; which includes the drama of the two million acre Maxwell Land Grant sale, and Billy’s star-crossed romance with the Territory’s richest heiress: young Paulita Maxwell. In her family’s Fort Sumner mansion, he was fatally shot by Sheriff Pat Garrett, who ambushed him in her traitorous brother’s bedroom on July 14, 1881.

Implications of Billy the Kid’s writings and words, and their context of political freedom fight, are brought to the present with discussion of the modern Santa Fe Ring and its self-serving 2003 hijack attempt on his history, based on ignoring his literacy and claiming he was actually the illiterate 20th century pretender “Brushy Bill” Roberts. This law enforcement fraud is further exposed in the author’s books: MegaHoax: The Strange Plot to Exhume Billy the Kid and Become President and Billy the Kid's Pretenders : Brushy Bill and John Miller.