A Rogues Gallery
May 8, 2013 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Purported Picture Of Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Jesse James and Charlie Bowdre
"There is that story that these two met in Las Vegas at the Old Adobe Hotel on July 26, 1879, and during a card game Jesse asked Billy to join his gang..........Henry Hoyt and Migeul Otero say so in their books, and that they witnessed it..............But Jesse James did stay at the Old Adobe Hotel from July 26 through July 29 in the summer of 1879, according to an announcement in the Las Vegas Optic printed weeks later. The owner of the Old Adobe Hotel, W. Scott Moore, was from Clay County, Missouri, Jesse's home turf, and was a childhood friend of his. Hoyt recalled Jesse's missing finger and his alias, Mr. Howard. And Jesse was on the run, so New Mexico is possible."
via: If Charlie Parker were a gunslinger
posted by Freen (12 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Huh. Old West stuff is fascinating. I ran across this photo in a cafe in Atlantic City, Wyoming. I have no idea if the caption is correct but it identifies Doc Holliday, Wyatt and Morgan Earp, Butch & Sundance, Judge Roy Bean and Teddy Roosevelt all in the same shot.
posted by workerant at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

I had no idea that Jesse James had made it that far west.
posted by Ber at 11:42 AM on May 8, 2013

it identifies Doc Holliday, Wyatt and Morgan Earp, Butch & Sundance, Judge Roy Bean and Teddy Roosevelt all in the same shot.

And the terrifyingly named Liver-Eating Johnson.

Stop taking Westerol and seek immediate medical help if you experience any of the rare but serious side effects - bloody flux, galloping ague, chilblains, Liver-Eating Johnson.
posted by zamboni at 12:05 PM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]

Fascinating pose, if it's true
posted by mumimor at 12:35 PM on May 8, 2013

I have no idea if the caption is correct

Unsurprisingly, it isn't.
How did the list of erroneous famous names come about? How did the misidentifications grow and gallop toward such egregious proportions, befuddling historians and the general public for decades? Who started it? The answer, as I was to find out, had been prophesied by Dan Buck when I began my research in 2000. Look for the name that is not famous, Buck had advised. The name "Harry Britton," which is not a famous name, had been copied faithfully - and correctly - as Man 12 in every variation of the famous name lists I have seen pertaining to the group photo. That name was indeed the lynchpin to the mystery.

Who was Harry Britton?
posted by zamboni at 12:45 PM on May 8, 2013 [10 favorites]

It seems unlikely that those four gents would be in the same room at the same time, and even less likely that they'd pose for a photographer. But not nearly as unlikely as Teddy Roosevelt cavorting with all those folks in the other photo.

Then again, it's amazing how photos will pop up of famous Old West personalities in unexpected contexts. For instance, here's an older Wyatt Earp posing with somebody's Packard.
posted by Longtime Listener at 12:47 PM on May 8, 2013

Billy the Kid's ears really stick out in the known photos of him. Not so much in this tintype.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:54 PM on May 8, 2013

If you haven't read zamboni's link above, be sure to do so. THAT'S the fascinating story, much more so than the picture of the almost-certainly four not-so-famous men. The TL/DR version of the story is that the descendants of the one unfamous guy identified in the picture - Harry Britton - gradually added the names of who they thought were in the picture with old grand-dad, but to determine that the researcher first had to disprove all the misidentifications.
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:05 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

This site also identifies this guy as Billy the Kid, and it's totally not. Round face, stronger chin, non-prominent ears... seems like a bit of wishful thinking.

Also, up above I said "photos" when there's only one authenticated photo (first one).
posted by oneirodynia at 1:15 PM on May 8, 2013

All I can say is that I wish all of the photos were as represented but I admire the detective work of the folks who debunked them--wish they had found them to be accurate (it would have reinforced my pre-adolescent fantasies of the Wild West) but alas. It will not be.
posted by rmhsinc at 2:00 PM on May 8, 2013

So all four are deputies, but they ran out of badges and only the guy they call Doc Holliday is wearing one? Las Vegas, New Mexico sounds like it was a wild place. Ride into town, meet some outlaws at a card game, then somebody gives you a white bandanna to put in your pocket and you're in a posse. Doesn't matter if you've committed multiple murders in some other place, the law needs bodies and you're not wanted here.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:59 PM on May 8, 2013

For those of you on the west coast of the United States, this post was generated on 11:23 5/8/13. That is all.
posted by grog at 8:23 PM on May 9, 2013

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