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Billy the Kid Kills Texas Joe Grant

January 10, 1880; Bob Hargrove's saloon, Fort Sumner, San Miguel County, New Mexico Territory---In the afternoon of this chilly winter day, Billy Bonney and two of his rustling cohorts, Charlie Thomas and Barney Mason, walk into the Hargrove saloon. With them are Jim Chisum (one of Old John's brothers) and three cowboys. Earlier in the day, the Chisum men, who were camping near Fort Sumner, were recovering stolen Chisum cattle with altered brands when into their camp rode Billy with his two companions. Billy asked to be allowed to inspect the cows himself, although it was well-known by everyone present that it had been he and his men that stole the cattle to begin with. After his inspecting was finished, Billy invited Chisum and his cowboys to accompany him back to Sumner, where he would buy the men drinks, probably in an attempt to "bury the hatchet" over the stolen animals. Accepting the invitation, Chisum and his men rode with the three Rustlers to Sumner.

Already in the saloon is a drunk and rowdy patron from Texas known as Joe Grant, sometimes called "Texas Red." Grant, who is apparently looking for a reputation as a badman, confronted Billy earlier in the day and said, "I'll bet $25 I kill a men today before you do." Billy laughed off the bet though, possibly upsetting Grant. While Grant gets drunker, Billy buys drinks for Chisum and his men. At some point, Grant walks over to Chisum cowboy Jack Finan and pulls an ivory-handled pistol out of Finan's holster, then places his own pistol in Finan's holster. Finan, apparently scared of the drunk man, makes no attempt to stop him. Suspecting, that shooting could start, Billy walks over to Grant, says he admires his new pistol, and casually pulls it out of Grant's holster. Billy knows something that Grant doesn't, namely that earlier in the day, Finan fired three shots with this pistol and never reloaded. Without Grant noticing, Billy spins the cylinder so that the next three shots will fall on the three empty catridges. Just as casually, Billy slips the gun back into Grant's holster.

Grant gets steadily more drunk and just as quarrelsome. He walks behind the bar and begins smashing the bottles to the ground, as Billy, not wanting to provoke a fight, joins him. At some point, Grant pulls out his pistol, points it at Jim Chisum, and shouts, "I'm going to kill John Chisum!" Billy then steps in and says to Grant, "Hold on, you got the wrong sow by the ear, this is Jim Chisum, old Uncle John's brother." Infuriated, Grant proclaims that Billy is a liar. As Billy turns his back to ignore him, Grant turns his pistol towards Billy's back and pulls the trigger. CLICK! Hearing the noise, in one swift motion, Billy turns around, pulls out his own pistol, and fires off three shots. The three bullets hit Grant in the head and he crumples to the ground, dead, never knowing what hit him. Billy then walks over to the fresh corpse, looks down at it, and says, "Joe, I've been there too often for you." With the excitement over, the rest of the patrons finish their drinks. Shortly thereafter, Grant is buried in the Sumner military cemetery, without ceremony.

A few days later, when Billy, Tom Folliard, Charlie Bowdre, and Charlie Thomas are in the Sunnyside Springs post office, Postmaster Milnor Rudulph asks the Rustlers about the recently killed man. In an offhand manner, Billy's only comment on the matter is that it was nothing, "a game of two and I got there first." The killing receives next to no notice in the papers and no charges are ever filed. If the man who killed Texas Joe Grant was not Billy the Kid, he almost definitely would have been completely forgotten from history. Grant had wanted a reputation and, ironically, he received one, being "made famous" by the Kid.