Part II: The Bad Boys
Henry McCarty, better known as William Bonney. Even better known as Billy the Kid. Short, ugly and buck-toothed, Billy became a petty thief at a young age. He spent several years working as a cowboy in
Jesse James. Jesse’s father was a Baptist minister. His father died when Jesse and older brother Frank were young, and their mother remarried an abusive man. The Civil War broke out and the James’ sided with the Confederates. Jesse and Frank joined a band of guerilla soldiers and fought for the Confederates. When the
Cherokee Bill. Part Native American, part white, part Mexican and part African-American, Crawford Goldsby was the victim of racism from an early age. It’s widely believed this is what triggered the violence that would eventually consume him. Bill fell in with two brothers named Bill and Jim Cook. He was fiercely loyal to them, considering them the only true friends he’d ever had. One day, a sheriff came to arrest the Cook brothers for stealing some horses. Instead of the Cooks going to jail, Bill shot the lawman. The brothers were grateful and indoctrinated Bill into their gang, giving him the name Cherokee Bill. He joined them in numerous robberies and gunfights. The same year he joined the Cook gang, Bill learned his sister had been beaten by her husband. Bill hunted down, then shot and killed his brother-in-law. Several months later, Bill was arrested and sentenced to death for killing a train conductor. He was rescued by the Cook gang. A year later he was in trouble for killing again, and Judge Isaac Parker, a.k.a. “the hanging judge” sentenced him to death. That night, Bill killed one of the prison guards. Furious, Judge Parker had Cherokee Bill hanged the very next day.
Doc Holliday. Born into a wealthy Southern household, John Henry Holliday was another one who saw his family’s wealth lost—and his family destroyed—by the Civil War. Despite claims that John attended Baltimore College of Dentistry, there are no records to prove he ever did. More than likely, Holliday learned dentistry as an apprentice. Around 1870, John left
Black Bart. In 1875 a man wearing a flour sack over his head held up a Wells Fargo Stagecoach in