Stone marking the spot where Billy the Kid died.
Stone marking the spot where Billy the Kid died.

Billy the Kid Killed Here

Field review by the editors.

Fort Sumner, New Mexico

If you believe that Billy the Kid was killed by sheriff Pat Garrett on July 14, 1881 -- and not everyone does -- then this is a place you'll want to see. Back in 1881 it was a first floor bedroom in the sprawling house of Pete Maxwell, a friend of Billy's. Now it's just an empty, stony lot, marked with a small, engraved granite slab, flat on the ground.

Garrett shot Billy in the bedroom under circumstances variously described as self-defense or a cowardly ambush, depending on whom you believe. The day after the shooting, Billy's corpse was carried a couple hundred yards east and buried in Fort Sumner's old military cemetery, next to two of the Kid's former outlaw gang members, who'd been killed only a few months earlier.

The death site marker is routinely festooned with visitor offerings of pebbles and spare change, and an occasional cigarette and bullet.

Also see: Billy the Kid: Baddest Punk in the West

Billy the Kid Killed Here

Address:
3501 Billy the Kid Rd, Fort Sumner, NM
Directions:
From Fort Sumner drive east on US-84 for three miles. Turn right at the brown Billy the Kid Grave sign onto NM-272/Billy the Kid Drive. Drive 3.5 miles. Park in the Visitor Center lot on the right, then walk west along an old dirt road for a quarter-mile. You'll see the Fort Sumner ruins ahead, and beyond it a tall white flagpole. The death site is about a hundred yards west of the flagpole, marked with a small granite slab flat on the ground.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Billy the Kid's GraveBilly the Kid's Grave, Fort Sumner, NM - < 1 mi.
Billy the Kid Museum and Replica GraveBilly the Kid Museum and Replica Grave, Fort Sumner, NM - 5 mi.
One Man's Privately-Built Rest AreaOne Man's Privately-Built Rest Area, Lake Sumner, NM - 15 mi.
In the region:
Norman and Vi Petty Rock 'n' Roll Museum, Clovis, NM - 57 mi.

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October 21, 2020

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