Billy the Kid

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Colleen Knier
Mr. McCarthy
Rogues and Reformers
25 February 2013

Billy the Kid vs. Young Guns

The legendary story of Billy the Kid has been told for over one hundred years. Movies have been made since then, portraying a similar story of Billy the Kid. The popular movie, Young Guns, was made in 1988 and was based around the teenage life of Billy and his posse known as “The Regulators”. However, the movie had many major historical inaccuracies. One example of a historical inaccuracy was the age of Billy’s employer John Tunstall. The movie portrays him as an old fatherly figure to the regulators, however Tunstall was only a few years older than Billy and died when he was twenty-four. The movie also represents the regulators incorrectly. There were more than six regulators and they were not all young fit men, most of them were in their thirties and forties. They also did not call themselves the regulators until after Tunstall’s death. Another example of a historical inaccuracy in the movie Young Guns was the scene where Murphy’s henchmen shoot Tunstall in front of all of the regulators. Tunstall, by himself, was riding horseback and was shot while herding horses back to the ranch. An additional historical inaccuracy was the scene where the regulators are stuck in McSween’s house surrounded by soldiers. In the movie, only five regulators are stuck in the house with Mr. McSween and his wife. In reality, there were about 15 regulators and the battle lasted about five days, not two. At the battle, Billy the kid is shown as killing Murphy for the final scene. No matter how cool the ending was, it was completely inaccurate because Murphy was not shot by the Kid, but died of cancer in Santa Fe. Young Guns is a great movie but the historical inaccuracies in it are very prevalent.
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