‘Billy the Kid’ Episode 1, 2, & 3: Recap And Ending, Explained – Who is William H. Bonney?


“Billy the Kid” is based on the life of American Old West outlaw and gunfighter William H. Bonney. Born Henry McCarty, his wanted posters referred to him as “Billy the Kid.” He later adopted the name William H. Bonney. “Billy the Kid” was shot and killed at the age of 21. He remains to this day as one of the most notorious figures of the American Old Western era.

‘Billy the Kid’ Episode 1: Recap And Ending

The location is El Paso, Texas, and the year is 1877. “Billy the Kid” arrives at a pub where he comes face-to-face with a guy named Joe Grant. Apparently, he is looking for “Billy the Kid” but has never met him before. Bill approaches Grant and appreciates his gun that was kept on the table. He asks if he can get a closer look at it. Taking it into his hands, he takes out two bullets while Joe is busy making himself a drink. Billy then places the gun back on the table. Clearly, Joe is there to kill Billy who seemingly has a bounty on his head. And as soon as Joe realizes that the guy in front of him is indeed “Billy the Kid,” he picks up his gun and points it at him. At this very moment, the scene shifts to a different time period.

It is 1871 in New York City. We meet little Billy and his younger brother Joe as well as their parents, Patrick McCarty and Kathleen McCarthy. It is Billy’s birthday, and they are celebrating it with Kathleen’s sister Mary and her family, including her husband Frank and son Sam. Unable to fetch a living in New York, they decide to shift to Kansas. The next day, after Billy helps his father fetch two wagons at cheap rates, they set out for Coffeyville, Kansas. On their way, one of the wagons is unable to take the force of a river and breaks down, almost drowning Bill and Patrick in the process. While they are saved, they lose the wagon with all their belongings, which floats away with the river current. When they camp that night, a gang of horse thieves attacks them. There is a gunfight, Mary’s husband Frank receives a gunshot and dies then and there. The next day, they resume their journey. On the way, the head coachman of the wagons, Moss, teaches Bill how to use a pistol. This would be Bill’s first step toward becoming the legend that he has. They reach Coffeyville only to find that it is a cesspool. However, with nowhere else to go, Kathleen finds herself a job at the local guesthouse with some help from her sons, Bill and Joe. However, her sister Mary leaves with her son Sam for New York.

Meanwhile, Bill’s father, Patrick, is slowly falling ill. And Mary’s chance at borrowing some money from the bank also turns futile. Ultimately, Patrick’s illness worsens, and he passes away. Kathleen is left alone with her sons, Billy and Joe.

The timeline shifts back to the present, with Grant pointing his gun at Billy. And he does shoot, but to no use as Billy has taken out two bullets. The episode ends with Billy putting a bullet in Grant’s head and walking out of the pub.

‘Billy the Kid’ Episode 2: Recap And Ending

Episode 2 begins with Kathleen, Bill, and Joe traveling to Santa Fe, New Mexico, on a horse-drawn wagon, to look for a living. The year is 1871 (so we are back in Bill’s past). Following a night where the driver coach tries to molest Kathleen but ends up being in front of Billy, who is holding a gun at him, they arrive at Santa Fe, New Mexico. There, Kathleen is hired as a waitress at a restaurant with a room to themselves upstairs. It is in Santa Fe that Kathleen meets Henry Antrim, who introduces himself as a soldier in the Union Army.

Meanwhile, young Billy makes friends with Carlos, who is almost the same age as him. They work together doing the dishes in the restaurant. One night, Kathleen is offered more money by a customer, Hattie, a whore. She mentions that the only way a woman can survive in New Mexico is either by becoming a whore or getting married. The next day, Billy witnesses the public execution of three Mexican thieves, with Henry Antrim being one of the people who carries out the execution. Later that day, Kathleen introduces Billy and Joe to Antrim at his home. Here, Billy questions Antrim’s judgment about the executions. This establishes their conflict. While Kathleen is more than thankful to Antrim for his financial help, Billy realizes that he is a liar. We then see Henry propose to Kathleen, who says yes. Billy tells his friend Carlos about it and says that he isn’t happy about it at all.

The timeline shifts to five years later, and we come back to the present, i.e., 1876. Billy and Carlos go try their luck in gambling, where some random guy shoots and kills Carlos over a lost game of cards. Billy is angry and in pain but isn’t able to do anything. This random guy, Billy later finds out from Mr. Ash Upson of the Press, is the circuit judge whom people know as Hennessey. He is also a member of the Santa Fe ring (one of the many rings that run everything in the West and the most dangerous). Upson is investigating the whole system and its corruption. People like Hennessey can buy whoever they want, from senators to sheriffs to judges to anyone else. And Upson wants to bring them to justice, but this justice will take time, something that Billy doesn’t want to afford, or rather, cannot wait for. With that in mind, Billy keeps on practicing his cowboy skills in his room above the restaurant, i.e., turning the revolver in his hand and the act of equipping it as quickly as possible from his holster. Meanwhile, a visibly hurt Hattie, with scratches on her face, arrives at the restaurant and reveals to Kathleen that it was Henry Antrim, her new husband, who hit her. She also tells Kathleen that he was one of her regular customers even before Kathleen’s arrival.

When Billy finds out about this, he searches for Antrim at the local brothel and finds him with two women. He beat Antrim up then and there. The next day, Antrim returns with Kathleen, Billy, and Joe, waiting at the table. He says that he has gone bankrupt and that they have to leave Santa Fey and go to another place to look for a new job. Kathleen tells Billy that she will have to leave with him, but Joe doesn’t have to come with her. But Billy says that he will. (He doesn’t want to leave her mom alone with that man). Later on, he meets Upson at a bar, who tells him that he, too, is leaving. He has been threatened by the Santa Fe rings and is leaving for Silver City.

When Upson tells Billy about the opportunities available at Silver City, Billy and his family too set out for the place. During a halt for the night, Antrim warns Billy to not cross him again, or his family will suffer. That very night, a rattlesnake enters their camp. While Antrim is scared, Billy doesn’t even flinch as he shoots and blows up the snake’s head. The episode ends with Billy and Antrim staring at each other, with rage in Billy’s eyes and fear in Antrim’s.

‘Billy the Kid’ Episode 3: Recap And Ending

Billy and his family have arrived in Silver City. Episode 3 begins with Antrim and his co-worker, Norm, mining. A blast kills Norm, and Antrim is hurt badly. He decides to quit mining and is unmoved by the fact that his job, along with Kathleen’s waitressing, is what has allowed them to borrow money to buy their house. Billy, enraged at Antrim, decides to make some money “on cards.” While he loses his game, he makes a new friend, Jesse.

Returning to where his mother works as a waitress, Billy meets Upson, who offers him a job under a rancher, Billy Matthews. Next, we see Billy and Jesse practicing shooting, and clearly, Billy is a pro shooter. Jesse gifts him his rifle and offers him a side job of “cattle rustling.” That night, Billy sees his mother, Kathleen, putting aside some of their savings, unbeknownst to Antrim. She makes him promise to not hurt Antrim for his own sake.

Meanwhile, his brother Joe is down with consumption (tuberculosis). The next day, Upson takes Billy to Matthews’, where he is told to take a test, i.e., put a lasso on a cow while on horseback. After failing a few times, he finally succeeds. But this isn’t enough for Matthews, who doesn’t hire Billy and further warns Upson to not interfere in their work. This is when Upson realizes that Matthews is also involved with the Santa Fe rings. Billy joins Jesse along with some other riders for his first cattle rustling, which turns out to be successful. But right after this, Joe passed away. That night Billy discovers Antrim stealing from the money his mother Kathleen had kept aside as savings. He points a gun at him and ultimately shuts the door on his face, seemingly forever. The following day, Billy, while at work, hears that his mother has fallen ill too. He rushes back home only to find out that she, too, has acquired consumption. That whole night, Billy sits by her mother as she lies on her bed.

The following morning, Kathleen passes away. With no one remaining in his family, Billy has to make do for himself. This is when Jesse offers him another job, i.e., stealing from a Chinese laundry. Both set out that night to steal, but their robbery is foiled when one of the people inside the laundry shoots at them, who was hiding behind a wall. Jesse is shot but escapes, while Billy is caught and taken into custody. He is put on trial the next day and is sentenced to 3 years in jail despite there being no proof that he stole anything. He isn’t even given a chance to defend himself. Upson, also present at the hearing, understands that Billy’s punishment is but a “travesty” to make Billy pay for whatever Upson is doing, trying to shine a light on the corrupt. However, that very night, Billy pretends to kill himself by hanging, and just when a police officer enters his jail to save him, he grabs hold of his revolver and locks him inside. Episode 3 ends with “Billy the Kid” walking out of the police station.

Where Will Billy Go After This? Is Jesse Alive?

The story of Billy getting arrested for trying to steal from the Chinese laundry is based on a true event that took place in 1875. If we follow history, after escaping from jail, Billy leaves New Mexico and comes to Arizona, where he becomes an outlaw and a fugitive. 

Coming back to the plot, Jesse is wounded but does make it out of the laundry scene. It seems that Billy will search for him and find him. Or maybe, it will be Jesse who comes to know of outlaw “Billy the Kid” and decides to pay him a visit in Arizona. But all this is only if the show follows the facts.

See More: ‘Billy the Kid’ Episode 4: Recap And Ending, Explained – Does Billy Join the Seven River Gang?

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Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
When Shubhabrata is not breaking his head trying to find out more about the trending movies , he spends time with his mom and dad, surrounds himself with books, listens to songs, plays games and writes poems (P.S- Tries to). He loves going for walks, prefers full sleeve t-shirts and seldom wishes he was Peter Parker's neighbor or had a small hut of his own in the suburbs of Dublin, Ireland.

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