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Hit The Road

Kid Stuff

Legend has it that outlaw Billy the Kid lived out his days in Hico

I remember sitting around the campfire telling stories about the Wild West. Specifically, the story of how infamous gunslinger Billy the Kid outsmarted everyone and lived to old age in Hico under a fake name. Was it true? I headed to the small town southwest of Fort Worth to find out.

There are a couple things I do every time I’m in Hico. First I eat a chicken-fried steak at Koffee Kup Family Restaurant, and then I buy pecan toffee from Wiseman House Chocolates. After that, I’m ready to investigate.

Hico’s historic downtown is booming these days, and the Billy the Kid Museum is right in the middle of it. The museum archives all the stories of Hico’s history and its infamous (alleged) resident.

I walked the displays and dug deep into the legend of Henry McCarty, aka William H. Bonney, aka Billy the Kid. It seems even his real name is up for debate. What is certain is that Billy was a notorious outlaw who stole cattle and gunned down many men across the Southwest.

Many say that lawman Pat Garrett shot and killed Billy in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, in 1881. There’s even a grave in that town with his name on it. But some say Garrett granted Billy mercy on the condition that he promise to never kill again.

In the 1940s, a reporter with a hot tip tracked down a man named “Brushy Bill” Roberts in Hico. Brushy claimed he was indeed the outlaw, with the scars and stories to prove it. However, before he could receive an official pardon from the governor of New Mexico, he died of a heart attack. Many questions remain, but the folks in Hico believe it was Billy himself.

Take a trip to Hico, conduct your own investigation and decide for yourself.