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The Rustling Activities of Billy the Kid

Throughout his life, Billy the Kid rustled livestock and became quite adept at it. He started learning the trade in Arizona Territory probably, when he was riding with a gang of horse and saddle thieves led by John R. Mackie. Fleeing Arizona for New Mexico after the murder of Windy Cahill, the Kid hooked up with the Jessie Evans Gang, who were a vastly experienced bunch in the ways of rustling and no doubt taught the Kid a lot. Later, during the Lincoln County War, Billy and the Regulators stole the livestock of their enemies on a few occasions. Following the war's end, Billy supported himself by gambling in and around Las Vegas, Fort Sumner, and Anton Chico, and also by starting up his own gang, called the Rustlers. With the Rustlers, Billy's reputation as a badman grew as he stole cattle and horses from the likes of cattle barons John Chisum and Joseph Lea and the Mescalero-Apache Reservation, then drove the animals to the boomtown of White Oaks or the Texas Panhandle to sell them. After selling the animals in Texas, Billy and the Rustlers would steal cattle from the LX, LS, and LIT ranches located along the Canadian River in the Panhandle, then drive them back to New Mexico to be sold. Eventually though, Billy's rustling ring fell apart as several of his gang were captured (including himself) or killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett.

Below, I have listed Billy's known rustling activites with the Jessie Evans Gang, the Regulators, and the Rustlers. Due to the little documentation that exists involving Billy's time in Arizona, I have not listed the depredations he committed with the Mackie Gang. The dates, details, and documentation regarding the escapades of the Rustlers are understandably very sparse, and there are no doubt several more undocumented incidents that occured with them that are not contained in the list as well.

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With the Jessie Evans Gang

With the Regulators

With the Rustlers