‘Billy The Kid’ Recap Before Season 2, Part 2: Story So Far


Billy the Kid, created and written by Michael Hirst, is the story of an innocent boy who became the most dreaded American outlaw. Henry McCarty, aka William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, never wanted life to turn out the way it did for him. He was an affectionate boy who just wanted to be around his family and live a normal life. But fate had other plans for him. Billy saw terrible days, but that didn’t break him as a person. In fact, he rose like a phoenix from his own ashes and made sure that he defied the odds. So let’s find out what happened in Billy the Kid season 1 and season 2 part 1, and what all our protagonists had to go through in order to survive.

Spoiler Alert

How did Billy turn into a fugitive? 

Billy’s family had come to America in search of better opportunities, but they never got the life that they were promised. Patrick McCarty had a tough time earning his livelihood, and when things got worse, he decided to shift to Coffeyville, Kansas, as they were told that there were better opportunities there. Firstly, Billy’s family had the hardest time getting to that place because Patrick didn’t have enough to pay for the carriages. One man named Old Moss agreed to take them at a discounted price, but once Billy and his family reached there, they realized that they had been lied to. The government, the authorities, and the people had deceived them, and Patrick realized that there was nothing in Coffeyville. Patrick, over a period of time, became so disappointed in everything that he lost his will to live. His wife, Catherine, tried her level best to boost the morale of her husband, but not even the sight of his kids, Billy and Joe, made him happy. The doctor also said that his mental state was having an impact on his physical well-being, and if that went on for a prolonged time, then he wouldn’t survive. Patrick’s depression became the reason for his demise, and he left his family in a terrible situation. It was not easy for a woman to find a job in the Wild West, but Catherine didn’t give up. She knew that she would have to put up a fight for her boys.

It was a patriarchal society, and Catherine knew that she needed a man in her life, as otherwise, the society wouldn’t let her live. She married Henry Antrim, who was someone that Billy disliked. Billy knew that Antrim was not a good man and that his mother was not making the right decision by putting her faith in him. Billy proved to be right, as Antrim not only cheated on his mother but also treated her very badly. The family moved to Silver City after Antrim made some bad financial choices and lost almost all his wealth. Billy was quite close to his brother, but it seemed like God wanted to make sure that all the people he loved were taken away from him. Joe, Billy’s brother, and then their mother died in quick succession as they both were suffering from a terminal illness, which the doctor termed consumption. By then, Billy had a good idea of what it took to survive in the wild lands of America. This was not the America that we saw in the nineties. Lawlessness prevailed, and the mighty survived while the weak perished. Around this time, Billy met a man named Jesse, and he decided to do some rustling jobs with him. Billy had nothing to lose, and though his sense of conscience still prevailed, which didn’t allow him to kill anybody, he was ready to do other illegal things for his survival. 

How did Jesse and Billy reach Lincoln City? 

Jesse and Billy’s friendship saw its own highs and lows. Billy was betrayed by Jesse when they both went to steal from a Chinese businessman. The Chinese man retaliated in full force, and he handed Billy over to the law enforcement authorities. Jesse was able to escape, and though Billy knew that the former didn’t have any other option, still, deep down, he felt he was left bleeding on the battlefield. Some time before the incident, Billy had met a journalist named Ash Upson, who told him about the Santa Fe ring and how the entire system was rigged by the rich and the powerful. Upson liked Billy, and he supported him in whatever manner he could. Billy wanted to uphold the promise he made to his mother. He wanted to abide by the law, and that’s why he tried his level best to respect the rules and regulations and lead his life like a good man. But soon, he realized the extent to which the system was rotten and the kind of corruption that prevailed.

Terms like justice and equality were only there in the legal books, and that’s when Billy decided that he would do whatever he needed to do to survive. Billy and Jesse met once again when the former was rescued by Jesse’s men after being stranded in the wilderness without any means to survive. Billy fell in love with the woman Jesse was involved with, and that created a conflict between them. There came a point where Jesse actually wanted to kill Billy, but he just couldn’t do that. It made us realize the kind of affection Jesse had for Billy. They might have had a lot of unresolved issues between them, but they still had a lot of love and mutual admiration for each other. Billy didn’t want to ride with Jesse, and so they parted ways. One fine day Billy met Pat Garrett, who at that time was working with Jesse, and he convinced Billy to come back and join their gang. Everything was going well until one day Jesse and Billy got an offer to take up a job in Lincoln City. There was a businessman named Lawrence G. Murphy who was having difficulties running his business. A rival group, led by Mr. John Tunstall, was apparently skimming them off their profits, and Murphy wanted to bring the situation under control. Jesse and Billy started working for Mr. Murphy, and that’s when they both realized that the ground reality was very different from what they were told in the beginning. 

What happened between John Tunstall and Murphy?

Billy realized that Tunstall was actually the man who was fair in his approach, while Murphy and his partners, i.e., Riley and Jim Dolan, were goons who oppressed the poor and made a fortune out of their misery. Billy was in two minds: on one hand, he had to be loyal to Jesse, but on the other hand, he wanted to be on the right side of things. He didn’t want the blood of the poor and weak to be spilled. He saw that Murphy wanted to take away everything from the poor Mexican farmers while Mr. Tunstall remunerated them according to market rates. Billy met Charlie and George, who were in Tunstall’s gang, when he decided to meet McSween, the lawyer who handled Tunstall’s business, and hear his proposal. There was a time when McSween worked for Murphy, but he had changed sides because he also, just like Billy, wanted to help the right people. McSween told Billy that Tunstall had so much wealth that even the Santa Fe ring couldn’t come in between him and his goals. Tunstall wanted to create a society where nobody was oppressed, where everybody reaped the benefits of their hard work, and most importantly, where people were not discriminated against based on their financial status or ethnicity. Billy went and told Jesse that he was going to help Tunstall in the war, and though Jesse was hurt, he didn’t let his gang act impulsively, as they just wanted to kill him there and then. 

Things changed when Thomas Catron, a wealthy and influential man who already owned a bank in Lincoln City, decided to take charge of things. Catron’s spokesperson, Edgar Walz, who also happened to be his brother-in-law, told Riley and Dolan to get hold of things if they didn’t want his boss to intervene. Tunstall had opened a bank in Lincoln City, and because of it, Thomas was incurring huge losses. Tunstall’s interest rates were better, and that’s why a lot of locals started availing of his services. Tunstall fell ill around this time, and when he was in the hospital, Edgar Walz paid him a visit and threatened him. For a moment, Tunstall got a bit intimidated, and he tried to make peace between the two rival groups. But things didn’t pan out as he would have liked, and that’s when he decided that he would go to war. Billy grew quite close to Tunstall during this period. Billy saw a father and a mentor in him, and he vowed to protect him at all costs. But Jesse’s gang killed Tunstall, and by doing so, they unleashed a beast who made a promise to himself that he wouldn’t stop until and unless he brought Murphy to his knees. 

Who became the new sheriff of Lincoln City? 

There were two significant developments that happened at the end of Billy: The Kid Season 2, Part 1. The first one was that Riley killed Dolan, and he took charge of Murphy’s crime syndicate. He didn’t kill Murphy because he knew that he was the face of the organization. More importantly, Murphy was the only one who could negotiate with Thomas Catron because the latter had a lot of respect for him. A warrant was issued against McSween, and Sheriff Brady had decided that he would put him behind bars and hang him under false charges. McSween wanted to do things the right way. He still had faith in the law, and he believed that he could use it against Murphy. He was on his way to the sheriff’s office when Billy realized that the moment he reached there, he would be thrown behind bars.

Billy rode as fast as he could, and he killed Sheriff Brady and took the warrant that he had issued against McSween. Billy’s gang members told him to stay low for a bit and let the dust settle in, but he didn’t want to do that. He knew that Jesse would come for him, and if that happened, he would be at a disadvantage. Billy wanted to take the battle to Jesse and take him by surprise. But there was another development at that juncture in Billy the Kid season 2, part 1, which he was totally unaware of. Sometime back, Billy had gotten a letter from Pat Garrett, who was in police custody. Garrett had told him that he was being trained to become a lawman. After Sheriff Brady’s death, Pat Garrett became the new sheriff of Lincoln City. So basically, in Part 2, it will be Garrett who will be chasing Billy and going after his life. It’s going to be a tough ride ahead for Billy, and I believe things are not going to be in his favor. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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