6 Notorious Outlaws of the Wild West 

  • Buffalo Bill on horseback
Buffalo Bill on horseback
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The myth of the Wild West is one of the most persistent and influential myths in American culture. From quick-draw gun duels and cowboy hats to notorious outlaws such as Jesse James and Billy the Kid, the Old West is full of legends and lore, many of them popularized by dime novels and, later, Western movies. Sorting truth from fiction can be a tricky process when it comes to the American frontier. Here are six facts about some of the most infamous outlaws from the Wild West.

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Billy the Kid Was Just 21 Years Old When He Died

Henry McCarty, alias William H. Bonney, and best known as Billy the Kid, was only 21 years old when he was killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881. McCarty packed a lot into his short and violent life. He was orphaned at 15, committed his first crime shortly after, joined a band of rustlers, and quickly became involved in the brutal Lincoln County War between rival factions, which featured famous names from the Old West, such as Sheriff William J. Brady and John Chisum. Despite his early demise, Billy the Kid became one of the most notorious gunfighters of the American West. According to his own count, he killed 21 men, although the actual number is probably fewer than 10.

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