Day 3:    The Roswell Incident

Main Page > 1997  The Charles Kuralt Memorial Tour >

With aching heads from the Cuervo Margies,  the Boys decided that being the desperados that they were, that it was only fitting to pay tribute the most famous desperado of New Mexico, Billy the Kid !! They decided to wrangle on down to Fort Lincoln, site of the Lincoln County Wars, and then on to "get down" in Carlsbad Caverns !


Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Traveling southeast to Fort Lincoln from Santa Fe, the terrain became very flat, with lots of scrub brush, and your classic southwest desert feel, which includes very hot and dry air, which parched the poor boys throats, espcially since the rental cars convertible top was down. This dry "condition" caused the Boys to pull off around 9:30 in the morning to fully replenish the Hall of Shame with a case of Dos Equis's and Corona's.

The Boys pulled into Fort Lincoln around 10:30 AM with the temperature hitting around a balmy 110 degrees. With it being so hot, Mike suggested that they hit the Billy the Kid Museum first to enjoy the air conditionin. Unfortunately, since Billy the Kid Museum is a private business and for a few bucks you can see a room full of Billy the Kid Memorabilia, without any air conditioning.

At the Museum, Mike and Bone learned that William H. Bonney alias Billy the Kid is probably the most misunderstood historical figure of the Old West. He was not a cold-blooded killer, nor was he a robber of trains or banks. Instead he was a gunfighter in the Lincoln County War, which was a feud between two factions in which both sides stole from each other and killed. The Lincoln County War would have turned out exactly the way it did if Billy the Kid never took part in it. His role in the War was minor -he wasn’t the leader but a follower.  Although Billy the Kid was one of many who fought and killed during the "War", he was the only one that faced conviction and was sentence to death.  So Billy the Kid used his wit and courage to escape his date with the hangman which boost his notoriety even more. If his spectacular escape wasn't enough, his controversial death was the final dramatic ending to his story. But it wasn't the end, Billy the Kid lives on in history and legend.


Mike, Bone and Billy the Kid !!

Billy the Kid’s real name was William Henry Antrim, when and where he was born, or who or what happened to his father is not known. It’s estimated that he was born around 1860-61 possibly in New York. History first traces the Kid as a youngster in Indiana in the late 1860s and then in Wichita, Kansas in 1870. His mother Catherine McCarty was a widow and single mother and he had a younger brother named Joseph (born 1863). By 1871, Catherine was diagnosed with Tuberculosis and was told to move to a climate that was warmer and drier.

 The family moved to Silver City in Grant County, located in southern New Mexico. Catherine was suffering from consumption and her health began to deteriorate rapidly. Then on September 16, 1874, the Kid’s mother died.

 Antrim didn’t want to be burden with two small boys, so he separated them and placed them in foster homes and left Silver City for Arizona.  The Kid now had to earn his own keep, so he was put to work washing dishes and waiting on tables at a restaurant. After a year of no parental guidance and looking out for himself, the Kid quickly fell in with the wrong crowd. One of his troublemaking buddies, Sombrero Jack, stole some laundry from a Chinese laundry cleaner and told the Kid to hide the bundle. The Kid got caught with it and was arrested. The county sheriff decided to keep him locked up for a couple of days just to scare him, but the Kid escaped and ran away.

The Kid fled to one of his foster families and they put him on a stagecoach to Clifton, Arizona where his stepfather was living, but when he found his stepfather he didn’t want him and told the Kid to leave. All alone in a strange desert, the Kid wandered from one ranch to another to find work. For the next 2 years the Kid tramped around as a ranch hand and gambler. He then met up with a horse thief name John Mackie who taught him the tricks of the trade and the two became partners. But after some close calls, arrest, and escaping from custody, the Kid decided it was wiser to give up his new occupation. He returned some stolen horses to the army to clear himself and got work as a ranch hand.

One day while at a saloon in Camp Grant, Arizona, the Kid who was about sixteen at the time, got into serious trouble. He got into an argument with a bully named Frank “Windy” Cahill, who had picked on him numerous times before. After some name-calling, Cahill rushed the Kid and slammed him down on the ground, then jumped on top of him and proceeded to slap him in the face. The Kid worked his hand free to his revolver and fired it into Cahill’s gut. When Cahill fell over the Kid squirmed free, ran off, and mounted the nearest horse and fled Camp Grant.

The Kid didn’t stick around to face murder charges and left Arizona and returned to New Mexico. Now an outlaw and unable to find honest work, the Kid met up with another outlaw named Jesse Evans, who was the leader of a gang of rustlers called “The Boys.” The Kid didn't have anywhere else to go and since it was suicide to be alone in the hostile and lawless territory, the Kid reluctantly joined the gang.

The gang made their way to Lincoln County where the Boys joined forces with James Dolan, who was currently in a feud against an Englishman entrepreneur named John Tunstall and his attorney and partner Alex McSween. The feud would be famously known as the Lincoln County War.

 The Boys started to steal Tunstall’s livestock, so arrests were made and the Kid eventually was caught and placed in jail. Tunstall noticed something different about this rustler, he wasn’t rough like the other men, but just a boy who got a bad start in life and was looking for place to belong. So Tunstall gave him an ultimatum: if he testified against the other rustlers, Tunstall would hire him as an employee. The Kid took Tunstall’s offer.

 Now fighting for the Tunstall side and in the hopes of a better future, the Kid changed his name to William H. Bonney, but his friends called him “Kid.” Tensions were high and the feud between Dolan and Tunstall escalated in to bloody violence. John Tunstall was brutally murder by members of Sheriff Brady’s posse and the Boys. Tunstall’s ranch hands then formed a vigilante group called “the Regulators.” Now the war was on.

 At first the deputized Regulators tried to do things legally by serving warrants, but with the prejudice Sheriff Brady and the bias court system, they couldn’t count on justice being served. So they took the law in their own hands. They retaliated by killing Bill Morton, Frank Baker and William McCloskey.  Then they ambushed Sheriff Brady and his deputy George Hindman in Lincoln. Lastly, they had a dramatic gunfight with Dolan gunman Buckshot Roberts, but during that shootout their leader Dick Brewer was killed.

 The Regulators revenge only made things worse. They were now viewed as the bad guys and warrants were put out for their arrest.

 Now the Dolan side struck back. Dolan's gunmen and newly appointed sheriff, George Peppin and his men, had the McSween house surrounded with Alex McSween and many of the Regulators trapped in side. Dolan sent for Colonel Dudley at Fort Stanton for assistance. The colonel came with troops along with a Howitzer and Gatling gun. On the fifth day of the siege the Dolan side was getting impatient, so they set the house on fire. By nightfall, the house was completely ablaze and heat from the flames were overwhelming. The Regulators began to panic, so the cool-headed Billy the Kid, only about seventeen years old, took over leadership of the men. The Kid divided the men into two groups, he lead his party out the door first and ran in one direction so as to draw the line of fire towards them so McSween’s party could make a run in another direction and get away. When the men began to run out of the burning house the Dolan side opened fire and all hell broke loose. McSween and three men were killed, but Billy the Kid and the others escaped into the darkness.


The only known picture of Billy the Kid

 The war was over; the Regulators disbanded and the Kid was now a fugitive.

 On the run again and an outlaw, the Kid went back to making a living the only way he knew how –rustling. There were other outlaws and rustlers in New Mexico, much worse than Billy the Kid, but the Kid had gain fame and was singled out by the newspapers who had built him up into something he wasn’t. It was the newspapers who had given him a name that he would forever be known as “Billy the Kid.”

 Since the end of the Lincoln County War, the Kid spent the next two years eluding the law and living in and around Fort Sumner (a former military fort transformed into a tiny Mexican village). While in Fort Sumner, he would kill a drunk at a saloon, but the killing was shrugged off and got almost no attention, but unfortunately, the Kid got into more serious trouble that did get plenty of attention. It happened when a posse from White Oaks surrounded the Kid and his gang at a station house, during the standoff the posse accidentally killed their own deputy, James Carlyle. Of course the death was credited to the Kid and destroyed any ounce of sympathy the public had for him, not to mention, any chance for him to get things squared up with the governor to get his pardon.

 As the Kid dodged the law, Pat Garrett was elected sheriff and made US Marshal to hunt for Billy the Kid. He was familiar with the Kid’s habits and hideouts, which may show that Garrett may have been a rustler himself or at one time may have ridden with the Kid.  During the pursuit for Billy the Kid, Garrett ended up killing two of the Kid’s closest comrades, Tom O’Folliard and Charlie Bowdre. Finally on December 23, 1880 Garrett trapped the Kid and three other gang members at a cabin in Stinking Springs. After a short standoff, Billy the Kid came out and surrendered.

 Billy the Kid was quickly put on trial in Mesilla and was sentence to hang for the murder of Sheriff Brady. After his sentence was passed, the Kid was taken to Lincoln to await his hanging. The Kid was shackled and imprisoned in a room in the Lincoln courthouse as two deputies took turns guarding over him.  On April 28, 1881 the Kid made his most daring escape (which would also be his last). The Kid was successful in getting a drop on the lone guard, Deputy James Bell, by slipping his hand out of the handcuffs and using the heavy restraints to hit the deputy over the head. The Kid then jerked Bell's pistol and told him to throw up his hands, but instead the deputy ran and the Kid had no choice but to shoot him.  The other guard Bob Olinger was across the street having dinner when he heard the gunshots. He ran toward the building and as the Kid saw him approaching he shot Olinger down with a shotgun.  The Kid rode out of Lincoln a free man and headed to the only place he could call home: Fort Sumner.

 The Kid decided to laid low long enough until the law would give up hunting him and he could “rustle” up some money and leave the territory. By July of 1881, Garrett heard rumors that Billy the Kid was in the Fort Sumner area, so with two deputies he rode into Fort Sumner.


The final (?) resting spot of Billy the Kid

On July 14, 1881 just before midnight, Pat Garrett waited till the town was quiet before he slipped into Pete Maxwell’s room to ask him about Billy the Kid. Garrett was a former employee of Pete Maxwell's and it's possible that Maxwell tipped Garrett off that the Kid was in the area.  At that exact moment, the Kid with a knife in hand went to Maxwell’s house to get some fresh beef for a late steak dinner. As he approached, he saw Garrett’s two deputies on the porch and since he didn't recognizing the strangers, he backed cautiously into Maxwell’s room and asked “Pete, who are those fellows outside?” He got no answer and as he walked towards the bed, he saw Garrett’s silhouette and started to back away and asked in Spanish, “Whose there?” Garrett recognized the Kid’s voice and fired his gun. The bullet pierced the Kid's heart and he fell to the floor. Garrett and Maxwell ran out of the room and huddled outside with the two deputies and waited. They could hear as the Kid gasped for breath and then all was quiet -Billy the Kid was dead (8).

The next day Billy the Kid was buried at the Fort Sumner cemetery near his two fallen companions, Tom O’Folliard and Charlie Bowdre. He was killed not for who he “really” was, but for what people “thought” he was. He was a pawn in losing game and he was made a scapegoat for other outlaws’ crimes. Although he did participate in killings, the men he fought against were much worse than he ever was. This nineteen or twenty year old lived a short life but made a lasting impression. If it weren’t for our attraction to Billy the Kid, the history of the Lincoln County War and its participants would've been long forgotten. Thanks to Billy the Kid, New Mexico has a thriving business in tourism as a steady flow of tourists each year come to visit the Billy the Kid sites. Even in death Billy the Kid is likeable and he has a large following with people all over the word. A matter of fact, Billy the Kid  is  known as the Old West's  most favorite outlaw.

With a rich background on the Kid, the 20th-Century Kids decided to pay homage to Billy's grave site.


Mike, checking the veracity of the Tomb of Billy


Bone, Stuck on the Case

(Or airing out his armpits !)

Driving the few miles to the grave site, Mike and Bone were struck by the fact that Billy's Grave was caged !! Apparently the Grave was so popular that the gravestone was stolen so many times that the City decided to protect the grave site. By now it was the middle of the day and the temperature was simply burning hot. After 10 minutes of wandering around the Grave Site, the Boys were sweating for a cold mexicano cerveza fria from the Hall of Shame !!


"The Truth is Out There"

The X Files

After quenching their thirst , the Boys decided keep heading south to Carlsbad,  where they could climb down into the cave, to cool off. As they drove out of  Fort Lincoln, they went through the middle of the State, and a very, very flat country that was blazing hot in the mid-afternoon sun, when all of a sudden the day got a whole lot hotter......................


Sliding through Central New Mexico

Hot Wheels!!  As the miles winded by, the Boys noticed that the car began to whine as well as they got within 90 miles of Roswell. As the Boys drove through the middle of B.F.E. (use your imagination !) the right front brake locked on the wheel and began a high-pitched squeal (similar to finger nails on a chalk board), which caused the boys to reach for another beer and the wheels begin to smoke !!!


The Roswell Incident

With the wheel well smokin' like a cigarette, the Boys discovered that the noise and grinding diminished somewhat if they kept the car below 50 MPH. The Boys thought, no problem, they would pull into Roswell get a new car at the local Hertz location, and be back on the road. Little did Mike and Bone know that this was the beginning of their own Roswell Incident !!!

As they pulled into town they scoured the city looking for a Hertz or any rental car company but with none to be found. Once in Roswell, the Boys were back into cell phone range and lobbed a call to Hertz. The good news was that Hertz was going to be able to bring the Boys another white Chrysler Convertible, the really bad news was they were stuck on a Sunday Night in Roswell !!!


The second Roswell Incident, the Boys Angel from Heaven

Hoping to make lemonade outta of lemons Boys plotted a course of action for the night, get a room and some beer !!! Pulling into the Frontier Motel in the downtown area of Roswell. The Boys checked and dickered with their typical Mike and Bone swagger and gusto with an elderly local women that had seen it all, and seen it in better days. With a voice hoarse from far too many cigarettes, she listened to the Boys tales of woe of being young, strapping, and stuck in Roswell, she stated "You boys can use my car tonight, I ain't goin nowheres !!!" Which just goes to show that angels aren't some long-haired, androgynous, effeminate dude with wings and a dress, but a doddering old grandma with booze on here breath and butt in her mouth. Truly Roswell is the place for incidents.


The third Roswell Incident, Too Cold to Swim at 110 degrees

With the long hot drive, especially after the need to drive slow, Mike had noticed the pool at the Frontier and suggested that they replenish (again !) the ever-lovin Hall of Shame and jump into the pool with beer in hand. Borrowing Gram's car the boys drove to the nearest convenience store and bought another case of Corona's for warm the desert afternoon. With the heat the Boys assumed that the water in the pool would be like bath water, in fact it was ice cold, Since they were in the Desert the Motel would have refill a quarter of the water every day due to evaporation. Which the boys we3re able to observe that after climbing outta of the pool, they would be bone-dry after 5 minutes.

Or better put, Bone was dry after being outta of the pool for 5 minutes !!!

After a few more beers by the pool the Boys decided to find some sort of recreation in Roswell on a summer Sunday Night whereas Granny suggested the UFO Museum, with little else to do the Boys drove Gran's car to the home of the fans of Mulder and Scully, The UFO Museum !!!


"The Truth is Out There, Part Two" The 1947 Roswell Incident

The X Files

So what is all this nonsense about? On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) issued a press release stating that personnel from the field's 509th Bomb Group had recovered a crashed "flying disc" from a ranch near Roswell, sparking intense media interest. Later the same day, the Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force stated that in fact, a weather balloon had been recovered by RAAF personnel, rather than a "flying disc." A subsequent press conference was called, featuring debris said to be from the crashed object that seemed to confirm the weather balloon description. The case was quickly forgotten and almost completely ignored, even by UFO researchers, for more than 30 years. Then, in 1978, ufologist Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel, who was involved with the original recovery of the debris in 1947. Marcel expressed his belief that the military had covered up the recovery of an alien spacecraft. His story circulated through UFO circles, being featured in some UFO documentaries at the time. In February 1980, The National Enquirer ran its own interview with Marcel, garnering national and worldwide attention for the Roswell incident.

 Additional witnesses and reports emerged over the following years. They added significant new details, including claims of a large military operation dedicated to recovering alien craft and aliens themselves, as many as 11 crash sites, and alleged witness intimidation. In 1989, former mortician Glenn Dennis put forth a detailed personal account, wherein he claimed that alien autopsies were carried out at the Roswell base.

 In response to these reports, and after congressional inquiries, the General Accounting Office launched an inquiry and directed the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force to conduct an internal investigation. The result was summarized in two reports. The first, released in 1995, concluded that the reported recovered material in 1947 was likely debris from a secret government program called Project Mogul. The second report, released in 1997, concluded that reports of recovered alien bodies were likely transformed memories of military accidents involving injured or killed personnel, and the recovery of anthropomorphic dummies in military programs like Project High Dive, conducted in the 1950s. The psychological effects of time compression and confusion about when events occurred explained the discrepancy with the years in question. These reports were dismissed by UFO proponents as being either disinformation or simply implausible, though significant numbers of UFO researchers discount the probability that any alien craft was in fact involved.


The only action in town, the UFO Museum !!!

In early 1990, the idea of a home for information on the Roswell Incident and other UFO phenomena was fostered by local nuts.  They got together with a Roswell participant Glenn Dennis and the two sought a home for the UFO Museum. This brought them to Roswell Realtor Max Littell who helped find the first location for the business. Mike and Bone toured the whole facility in about 20 minutes, saw lots of fools perusing over mannequins dressed up like aliens.


Darned Illegal Aliens !!


A Scintillating Museum UFO Display

The Museum was open to visitors in fall of 1992, the mission was and continues “to be the education of the general public to all aspects of the UFO phenomena”, and exploit the idiots that follow the Roswell story. Rubes from around the world travel to Roswell to see what happened and “Find the Truth !” as well as simply “be in Roswell where it happened.” The Museum’s exhibits include information on the Roswell Incident, along with dummy aliens from the story, as well as information on crop circles, other UFO sightings, Area 51, ancient astronauts and abductions. To be fair, the exhibits are designed to not try to convince anyone to believe one way or another, which Mike and Bone thought was unmitigated Bulls**t.


The weird, weird, Downtown Roswell

Having enough of the freaks and geeks, Mike and Bone ordered a Pizza at a local restaurant and took it back to the Motel.


Eating Pizza and Drinking Beer at the Frontier

The Boys took the Pie and the Hall of Shame out by the pool, sat in the lawn chairs chewed pie and slurped suds until midnight, when the Boys thought up a very scary, and frightening idea . . . . . . . .  To drive out in the Desert (with a fully stocked Hall of Shame) and hopefully see .... A UFO !!!

"Scully is that really You !?",  FBI Agent Fox Mulder

UFO = Unidentified Farting Objects  The Boys drove out in the middle of nowhere and sat on the hood of Grannies car looking at the myriad stars. The did see a few shooting stars, heard a lot more shooting farts from the day-long beer drinking-binge. After two hours of shooting stars, farts, and mouths, the Boys decided that UFO's were not gonna come out to play and decided to call it a night.