Barely escaping with his life, McCarty became an outlaw and a fugitive. He stole horse and cattle until his arrest in 1880 for the killing of Sheriff Brady during the Lincoln County War. After being sentenced to death, he killed his two guards and escaped in 1881. He was hunted down and killed by Sheriff Patrick Garrett on July 14, 1881 in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. The above picture is a cartoon drawn in a newspaper, titles: Not so cocky now, Billy the Kid!
Billy the Kid was one of the most infamous western gunfighter in is time and still remains among the most well known. In general, the outlaw gunman remains one of the most popular Western icons. What made these gunmen so popular was the the "press agents" who reported on their deeds. There was, however, "little to distinguish one criminal from another, it just mattered who had the best press agent. When considering the cast of Western badmen, Billy the Kid wins hands down on this account." The press inflated his status but when you look at his record, was he really that bad compared to standards set by other gunmen? Below I gave a listing of Billy the Kid's criminal record.