The Let's Play Archive

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

by Fleve

Part 1: The Man Who Shot Pat Garrett

And we’re off. The game cuts the story into rather small, 10-15 minute parts. In case they’re really short I’ll string a few of them together.

Additional Stuff
The tale begins in 1910 Abilene, around the time when the Old West and frontier expansion was coming to an end. I think the car in the intro is a nice touch to signal that. During the intro you might’ve also seen a poster zip by very shortly, it’s around the 34 second mark and you can only see a large DON’T written on it. I’m not sure whether this is real, but there’s a better quality version going around on the internet which shows the full text; supposedly it’s from 1889 Hawkinsville which appears to be in Georgia, so that’s a bit off historically and geographically but eh, it looks nice.

Nuggets of Truth

Patrick Floyd “Pat” Garrett was born on June 5, 1850 in Cusseta, Alabama and grew up on a prosperous Louisiana plantation located just below the Arkansas state line. He died on January 29, 1908, shot in uncertain circumstances on the road from Las Cruces, NM, by one Jesse Wayne Brazel. Pat was a cowboy, a buffalo hunter, a bartender, and a customs agent, but history remembers him as the sheriff who killed Billy the Kid. Garrett and Bonney met in a saloon and for a while they were fellow card players. When Garrett was made Sheriff of Lincoln County and Governor Wallace put a 500-dollar bounty on the Kid’s head, the newly minted lawman began a relentless pursuit. Despite numerous traps, Billy was able to escape the tightening noose. He could not run forever, though.

On July 12, 1881, in Fort Sumner, Billy, most likely unarmed, entered a room where Pat Garrett was lying in wait, sitting in the darkness. Billy asked the question “¿quien es...?" (Who's there?) And Garrett answered with two shots from his revolver. One hit Billy in the heart, killing him on the spot. He was buried in the Fort Sumner cemetery, between the graves of two friends Tom O'Folliard and Charlie Bowdre. Many people later accused Garrett of killing the Kid in a dishonorable manner. The book he co-authored, "The Authentic life of Billy the Kid," in which Billy was portrayed as a degenerate murderer, did nothing to list that disreputable cloud. That image of the Kid, however, became part of his legend and remains so to this day.

Pat Garrett was relentless in his pursuit of Billy the Kid and his gang. Garrett and his posse tracked them to a deserted stone farmhouse in Stinking Springs and surrounded the building.

Keeping Billy company was a colorful collection of desperados. Among them were Tom Picket, Billy Wilson, Charlie Bowdre, and "Dirty Dave" Rudabaugh. Rudabaugh crossed paths with such legends as Dave Mather, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday and died in a rather unsavory manner, as he was shot and then decapitated by a Mexican machete in 1886. Charlie Bowdre (who probably killed Buckshot Roberts in the Blazer's Mill Gunfight) did not survive the siege at Stinking Springs as a bullet hit him in the chest while he was passing a window. The others surrendered on the following day, December 23, 1880, after Dirty Dave hoisted a white flag. The captured criminals were transported to Santa Fe while Billy was taken to Mesilla where he was sentenced to death by hanging. He was then moved to Lincoln, NM to await execution. It never happened, however, as the Kid pulled off a spectacular jailbreak.

The Lincoln County War is often considered one of the most famous examples of a "range war" in the history of the west. Range wars were conflicts over the control of "open range" or rangeland freely used for cattle grazing. The disputes were usually over grazing or water rights, but in this case, the fight was over the control of the dry goods trade in Lincoln County. The quarrel arose around a conflict of interests between the Dolan-Murphy faction and a newly arrived Englishman, John Tunstall.

At first, they tried to use the legal system to resolve their dispute, but soon the fight devolved into a conflict between armed gangs. Murphy and Dolan had ties to outlaws like John Kinney and his gang and Jesse Evans, whose outfit was known as The Boys. They were responsible for the death of Tunstall, which became the central catalyst of the conflict. The other side had The Regulators. William Bonney (a.k.a. Billy the Kid) rode with them, promising revenge on the men who murdered Tunstall. Both sides were sworn in by different officers of the law so technically they were all acting within the law. After The Regulators were defeated, some of their members became Fugitives and, just like Billy the Kid, met untimely and violent ends.