KG and Ringy head out to the Wild West to locate physical evidence of America’s most notorious outlaw, William Bonney, better known as “Billy the Kid.” Before he became known as a legendary outlaw, Billy was a central character in the Lincoln County War, a battle between two opposing cattle companies – “The House” and “The Regulators” – who were fighting over land, cattle, and power in the frontier Territory of New Mexico. The power struggle was so deadly that President Rutherford B. Hayes deemed the one-street town of Lincoln “the most dangerous street in America.” The episode centers on KG’s and Ringy’s survey of already much-detected sites associated with the period of Billy’s arrival in Lincoln in 1877, through his escape after the Lincoln County War about 1880.
The crew knew the episode would be interesting as soon as the local historian, Drew Gomber, sauntered up on the first day of shooting. Drew Gomber is a true New Mexico character – complete with leather vest, worn-in cowboy boots, a dark old-fashioned hat, a loaded six-gun, and “don’t mess around” persona that seems as if he stepped right off the pages of a pulp western.
He would expertly guide us through Billy’s arrival, the impact of the war on the community, and Billy’s escape up the canyon behind what is now the Laughing Sheep Farm.
We visited the Dolan House – Jimmy Dolan’s home from the period when he controlled “The House” – the “bad guys” of the Lincoln County War. Dolan was sent to Fort Stanton NM during the Civil War and ultimately came to control every aspect of trade, money, and merchandise in the largest country in the Territory. Dolan ruled with an “iron fist,” killing any employee for daring to cross him. KG and Ringy hoped to find silver or gold on their hunt at the Dolan House.
We visited the Coe Ranch, originally owned by Regulators: Dick Brewer and George Coe. At Coe Ranch the untamed but charming Billy tried to become an honest man after leaving the Santa Fe Trail, where he had killed a man in self-defense.
During “the War,” the store now known as the Casa de Patron was used as a makeshift jail to hold Billy for 27 days while he waited for the pardon he was promised from Territorial Governor Lew Wallace; but that would never come. Supposedly, Billy carved his name into the door of the store (the door has since been removed) before he escaped and left Lincoln, and his hopes of finally becoming an honest man behind for good.
Searching to find evidence of battle at another historical nectar spot, the place where The Regulators found themselves surrounded at the McSween house and the Ellis Store. The Regulators – the “good guys” – had taken refuge for five days of battle that began on July 19, 1878, proving this spot to be an epic nectar sector. Despite previous detecting at the site, the boys found extraordinary period pieces here – including an oil lamp, brooch, a period pocket knife, and several period casings at what appears to be a spot where one of fighters laid down fire for some time during the bloody siege known as the Battle of Lincoln.
Dont miss Diggers: Billy the Kid WED AUG 7 8PM ET