Thursday, May 26, 2016


Here’s a famous photograph of the notorious “outlaw,” William Bonney, known as “Billy the Kid.”  He carries a rifle in his right hand, and his colt revolver on his left hip, indicating that he was left-handed.   
Pretty much “everybody knows" this.  It’s a cherished part of sacred wild west lore. In 1958, Paul Newman was (mis)cast to portray Bonney in the bio-pic “The Left-Handed Gun.”
The thing is, it ain’t so.
 The image is from a tintype, one of two almost identical images taken of The Kid in 1880. The original of one was lost. The other was discovered in 1986.
A tintype is a reverse image.
William Bonney was NOT left-handed.

Just a reminder that sometimes what "everybody knows" is dead wrong, and a cautionary word to those who religiously strive to emulate bizarre, awkward and unlikely poses found in some centuries-old fencing books.