Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
So here's the thing about Billy's M1873 Winchester so moved about in the immortal tintype of 1880. It seems (according to Paulita Maxwell, generally thought to be his girlfriend) he had this tintype made in 1880 (probably summer) at she claimed that it was done in front of Smith's saloon in town. Here Billy and his pals spent a lot of time, and Billy actually dealt cards there, and remarkably Pat Garrett was at the time bartender.
Pal Charlie Bowdrie had a CDV photo done with his wife Manuela in Las Vegas, N.M. earlier and he had his weapons, including his rifle across his lap (seated).
Billy wanted to have one done, and an itinerant photographer set up his wagon near the saloon. Accounts say it was quite easy to perform these tintypes, as equipment was inexpensive and one did not need to be professional. It seems certain the guns Billy had were his, and he brought them for the image.
It seems men in this rugged territory typically went about armed (obviously in these 'war' conditions) however Paulita said Billy was very neat about his clothes in town...and NEVER would have worn these type things except on the range. The crumpled slouch hat was also not his usual 'sugarloaf sombero' which he got from Chihuahua.
Apparently the photographer had him position the Winchester in holding position to steady him for the image, he pushed back the sweater on his RIGHT side to reveal the Colt revolver.
These tintypes (there were 4 ) cost two bits, and one ended up with newspaper which of course boosted his notoriety as a deadly outlaw.
NOW THE QUESTION:
If Billy was captured at Stinking Springs in December of 1880, and there is no mention of his Winchester......and he was held captive until his escape in April. Where was the Winchester?
Obviously he could not have had it in jail......he does not seem to have had it at Stinking Springs, and no mention is made of it at the time of his death in July (July 14, 1881 , exactly 138 hears ago) .
I saw a Winchester M1873 in the 'Billy the Kid ' museum in Ft. Sumner, N.M. several days ago, and it says it was given away by Billy 2 months before his death.