Friday, June 06, 2003

June 6, 2003
It’s a small world. Yesterday’s New York Times had a front page feature on digging up Billy the Kid. This is not news to us, but for some reason the efforts of the sheriff of Lincoln County, who I met at the Ruidoso gunfight show a week and a half ago, has really captured the imagination of the media. Basically they want to dig up Billy’s mom, who’s buried in Silver City, NM and get a sample of her DNA to check it against Brushy Bill who claimed to be Billy and died in Hico, Texas in 1950, or so. Brushy came to New Mexico in 1950 asking for a pardon, but couldn’t remember names and dates and pretty much was written off as a hoaxer. There was a flurry of these old guys, who claimed to be Jesse James, etc. In fact, at first, Brushy Bill claimed to be a member of the James gang, then switched to Billy.

Fast forward to the 1980s and the “Young Gun” movies, which dusted off the Brushy Bill legend and used it to great effect. In fact it resurrected Brushy Bill from anonimity and today they have a museum in Hico and a spirited debate with Fort Sumner, NM as to whether Pat Garrett really killed Billy there, or whether he killed another guy and let Billy escape (and the guy who escaped was Brushy Bill).

Our intrepid reporter, Jana B. is working on a story about the new $80 mil Disney movie “Hidalgo” which is coming out later this year. As the New York Times article broke yesterday I called Jana about writing the Digging Up Billy story. Here’s the small world part: both “Hidalgo” and the “Young Guns” movies were written by John Fusco who Jana has been interviewing on the “Hidalgo” story.

It gets smaller. Jana interviewed Paul Andrew Hutton regarding “Hidalgo” and he is on record as saying, “John Fusco is my hero.” Several days ago I said in my journal here that I want to be Paul Andrew Hutton when I grow up. I got an E-mail from John Fusco saying, “You may want to be Paul Andrew Hutton when you grow up but I want to be BBB when I grow up.” Very small world indeed.

By the way, here’s two good looks at Casa de Patron B&B in Lincoln, NM. Billy the Kid was held in this house as a prisoner, and he played cards and essentially had the run of the place. He still does. And when you stay there you can just feel his prescence. Check out their website at

“It may be a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.”
—Steven Wright

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