Tulsa author documents life of Billy the Kid

Tulsa-based author and three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Michael Wallis has written what may be the definitive biography of a famed American outlaw in “Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride.”

“God knows there have been literally hundreds and hundreds of books on the Kid “¦ but hardly anything deals with his entire life,” Wallis said. “I wanted to “¦ explore what was going on around him at that time that could allow a young man to become a total myth in his own lifetime.”

In researching the story of the Kid ” aka Henry McCarty ” Wallis found “generally, he was not a bad fellow. Just like Pretty Boy (Floyd), more crimes were heaped on his young shoulders than he was really responsible for. He in no way killed 21 men. My count is four, and probably two of them needed killing.”

Although McCarty was killed in 1881, popular culture keeps the Kid alive. Wallis said people he talked to in Arizona and New Mexico still pass down stories about him “like heirloom china. He’s still revered to this very day.”

With books on Pretty Boy and the Kid completed, one wonders if Wallis has another outlaw book in him, to complete a trilogy.

“Many people ask me that, especially about Jesse James,” he said. “He’s not currently simmering on a back burner, but I sure do like to write about bad boys. Maybe I have a streak of larceny in my own heart.” “Rod Lott


Rod Lott

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