"Famous for one thing only -- stolen tombstones" Fort Sumner by mrclay2000

Fort Sumner Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 19 photos

Billy the Kid is Buried here with All His Pals

This dry, dusty, almost forgotten corner of New Mexico is far out of your way relative to the major roads. The federal highways that bring you here conduct you through some of the crappiest scenery in one of my least favorite states in the Union. By the time you reach Fort Sumner, the last few miles are unbearingly slow going even at 100 mph.

Toward the end of the road though, you get to leave your car at a fairly worthless emporium selling knick-nacks and other souvenirs featuring Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Old timers often sit out on the front porch and weave tales that they heard over the last game of cards to whomever will listen.

In the back yard however (and free of charge) is a small graveyard with graves spread throughout the enclosure (accessible through its corners without paying any admission). In the cage is the star of the show -- Billy the Kid, who by 22 years of age had shot almost as many men. His tombstone has been stolen many times according to a sign beside his grave. To protect against the next purloiner, not only are the three graves protected by a collective cage of steel, but the gray granite tombstone etched with Billy the Kid itself is housed in a similar steel apparatus within the larger cage. Take a few portraits here (as I did, in the pose of a gunslinger), use the portable johns behind the museum (which reek in the hot months) and get the hell out of New Mexico, unless you intend to ski.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:No other way to visit the last resting place of Billy the Kid
  • Cons:Hell and gone from the world, surrounded by desert
  • In a nutshell:A Legendary Figure of the Old West - Eternally
  • Last visit to Fort Sumner: Sep 2000
  • Intro Updated Dec 23, 2002
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Reviews (1)

Comments (3)

  • Feb 9, 2005 at 9:47 AM

    I missed that one unfortunately. Thanks for the tip. Next time I'm around I'll know where to go to.

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2003 at 7:58 AM

    Love the comment from heplion. Fort Union and Las Vegas are pretty interesting up north, but Eastern NM is more of Texas Panhandle = not a lot.

  • heplion's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2003 at 8:01 AM

    Never knew he was buried here......looks like he is still doing prison time...

mrclay2000

“I have no illusions. I lost them on my travels.”

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