April 28, 2023
We had a full house yesterday at the Scottsdale Museum of the West. They came to hear Jana Bommersbach and I talk about the our book, Hellraisers & Trailblazers: The Real Women of the Wild West.
Today is the anniversary of, perhaps, the coldest greeting in the history of human existence. "Hello, Bob," are the two alleged words Billy the Kid said to Bob Olinger before the Kid pulled both triggers on Pecos Bob's own shotgun. I wish I had a nickel for every time my Old West friends say this to me with a chuckle and a knowing smile.
The Case for The Hat
Quite a few portrayals of the Kid have him hatless when he kills Olinger.
I chose to portray him wearing his famous sugarloaf, and, here's why.
The hatless partisans claim that the Kid was inside and everyone takes their hat off inside. Never mind that this concept says more about military manners (post WWII) when many cowboys who served, were finally broken of wearing their hats inside. If you don't believe me look at old photos like this one. And there are plenty more examples.
Even if you consider that he was not wearing a hat when he was chained to the floor upstairs in the Lincoln County Courthouse, when Billy asked Bell to take him to the privy, that was outside, and he most assuredly would put on his hat going outside. When Bell and the Kid came back from the outhouse, the Kid would still be wearing his hat going up the stairs and then after the melee that followed, with the Kid hobbling to the window, I think he would still be wearing the lid.
"You don't have to dig deep to find remarkable stories of the remarkable women of the West—you just have to care enough to dig. We cared enough. Meet some of the women who should be in every history book."