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Randy Guijarro, the owner of this photograph, cases the snapshot includes wilhelm Bonney (inset), Tom Folliard, Sallie Chisum, Paulita Maxwell, Josiah “Doc” Scurlock, “Big Jim” French and Antonia Scurlock.

You are watching: Billy the kid croquet photo authentic

Click here for the rebuttal from Jeff Aiello, Co-Executive Producer that the upcoming documentary Billy The Kid: brand-new Evidence

The juggernaut the publicity because that the National geographic Channel display airing top top Sunday, October 18, is nothing brief of phenomenal. We started obtaining e-mail requests last week about the alleged brand-new photograph the outlaw Billy the Kid, i beg your pardon we first discussed in our special Billy the Kid problem (June 2015). Reader begged because that our input and also verdict ~ above the so-called “croquet photo.” lock all want to recognize one thing: “Do girlfriend think it’s yes, really Billy?” short answer: us think the public is genius, but no one in our office think this picture is of the Kid.

We polled some of our writers and also researchers who have spent a good part of their stays studying the Kid. These are the males we trust and also respect. Below are your responses:

“…that photo explained as ‘Billy the son playing croquet’ supposedly found in a Fresno, California, ‘junk shop’ through a details Randy Guijarro—who payment ‘a pair of bucks’ because that it ( part accounts state he payment 67 cent ). These accounts go on to say the this junk shop photo is ‘now precious $5 million.’ i guess I’ll need to see how many millions I can make by marketing the photograph I discovered in a dumpster in eastern Overshoe, which mirrors Belle Starr and also Calamity Jane playing hopscotch top top the Brooklyn Bridge.”—Jack DeMattos, writer of “The find for Billy the Kid’s root is Over,” Real West, January 1980

“Without a hard provenance linking a historic photograph come the Kid, it deserve to never it is in anything an ext than just a photo of a goofy-looking juvenile who bears a same to one wilhelm H. Bonney. Such pictures are fixed rare—unfortunately.”—Mark Lee Gardner, writer of To Hell ~ above a rapid Horse: The Untold Story the Billy the Kid and also Pat Garrett

“Aside from lacking any type of provenance, this picture is from such a lengthy distance the it’s impossible to discern physical attributes, much less facial features. This is simply an additional of the long chain of want-it-to-be-the-Kid pictures. This one poses also less credibility 보다 its predecessors. We so-called specialists have been showered v a flood of Billy images that their owner were sure were Billy due to the fact that they looked prefer Billy.”—Bob Utley, author of Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life

“When I very first saw it 2 years ago, the owner only thought the one to be Billy the Kid because he had a pullover on, and he thought the hat looks choose the one in the authentic photo. But the promoters he to be somehow able to get associated are leaving money on the table in ~ $5 million since they failed to identify Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane and Wild bill Hickok that are likewise obviously in the photo.”—Robert G. McCubbin, world-famous collector of historic Old West photographs

“Bob McCubbin and I told the owner two years earlier it is no a photo of Billy the Kid. He refused to think us and kept dragging it approximately to miscellaneous auctioneers, trying to convince them it to be real. Finally, he acquired Don Kagin to expropriate it. Bob and also I have described in information to everyone connected why the image has actually no value. This photo has actually no more provenance than any type of of the scores that alleged Billy the Kid pictures which have showed up on ebay the previous 15 years. And also don’t speak to me around facial acknowledgment software. When it concerns two-dimensional historical images, it just doesn’t work.”—John Boessenecker, California outlaw historian

“Regardless of what is stated by paid ‘experts,’ their conclusions room CONJECTURE, no FACT. No matter how innovative the hype that accompanies them, it’s tho hype and also nothing else. The ‘proof’ they market is nothing more than wishful thinking, and also the historic value the the image is zero.”—Frederick Nolan, writer of The West that Billy the Kid

“I’ve looked at the photo, and I don’t see how anyone can certainly ID anybody in it. It’s hard enough to take it at a head shot and be sure without various other provenance. Heck, I might look in ~ old picture of Brad Pitt and Robert Redford and swear it’s really me in that photo.—Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s main Historian and True West’s answer man

“Yes, the documentary has actually yet to it is in shown. Yet from what I’ve seen and also read and also heard, i think the picture is a storm in a teapot—or worse, it’s lamb dip. No id’s. No date. No location. No provenance. No way.”—Mark Boardman, True West’s features editor

“There is a huge difference between documentation, which is a file trail the leads earlier to job one, and authentication, which just identifies the snapshot as gift from a particular duration and sometimes, a place. Personally, i still have to go through documentation.”—Drew Gomber, Lincoln ar historian

The Times of London referred to as me yesterday because that a quote top top the photo. As always, Billy is an worldwide phenom. The fascination is, well, fascinating. Component of this is shed treasure interest, however most of it shows the enduring very nice of Billyiana. A photograph with no provenance whatsoever picked up in a flea market causes all this commotion—and a tv one-of-a-kind to boot. Billy the Kid just keeps riding…”—Paul Andrew Hutton, differentiated professor of history at the college of new Mexico and author the “Dreamscape Desperado,” True West, may 2007

Kevin Costner narrates the two-hour documentary that airs on 9 p.m. ET this Sunday ~ above the National geographical Channel.

REBUTTAL

Jeff Aiello, Co-Executive Producer the the upcoming documentary Billy The Kid: brand-new Evidence, sent out us a rebuttal to our post on the photo on October 15, 2015 at about 7:30am MST.

True West – “experts” chime in top top Billy The son – croquet photo authenticity

The newly found photograph of Billy The Kid and The Regulators has certainly ignited a firestorm of interest and also controversy. The remarkable tintype featuring wilhelm Bonney and several that the males that dubbed themselves The Regulators, make in an out scene playing croquet has, unfortunately, split a ar of those who deeply treatment about history of The Kid and also the Lincoln ar War.

Randy Guijarro came to possess this picture purely by luck, or what part would contact fate. He walked into a junk shop in Fresno, California in 2010 after ~ hearing that two young guys were offering old photos and documents out of a shoebox, not realizing what valuable inventory they carried. Randy bought 3 ferro-types for $2. One to be the photo the human being knows about today. He no realize what he had actually until he obtained home.

After bringing the home and studying the under his loupe, he conveniently noticed a same to the icon-photo the Billy The boy the people has recognized for generations. ~ doing a small research, he also noticed that two other numbers in the photograph closely matched recognized photos the two men that are popular to have actually ridden through Bonney; Tom O’Folliard and Charlie Bowdre. Figuring that the possibilities three individuals that were all recognized to ride together in Lincoln County, new Mexico between 1878 – 1880, all seen in one photo were extraordinary, he started to carry out what anyone would do…seek out the experts for your opinions to check out if what he had actually was real.

In 2011, ~ the Upham-photo the Billy The Kid marketed for $2.3 million, Randy reached out come the professionals for the very first time. That met through Brian Lebel at a present in Grass Valley, CA and also showed that the yes, really tintype along with a high-quality enlargement of the image. Before Brian could really comment, one more historian-author, man Bossenecker, conveniently crowded right into the meeting, glanced at the image and also dismissed it immediately citing the the landscape and trees didn’t match brand-new Mexico and, v a fair amount of conviction, stated that the scene was most most likely in California. After Bossenecker left, Lebel pulled Randy aside and told that he had actually some occupational to execute to prove the photo was authentic, but if it was, it can be worth 10-times the of the icon-photo the The Kid…Lebel’s words.

Randy, being certain of what he had, was no deterred. In fact, without even realizing it, man Bossenecker to be the motivation for a long journey Randy would take to uncover the truth.

The next person Randy showed the photograph to was man McWilliams, a noted expert in 19th century photography ideal known because that his Texas ranger collection. McWilliams has actually looked at and also shot-down 4 purported BTK pictures before…all in a issue of seconds. McWilliams looked carefully at Randy’s image and also two hours later, was still looking at it. John determined the actual tintype as a late-1870s plate and verified clothing worn by the subjects in the photograph to be specific to the late-1870s. He also felt the person believed to be Bonney in the photo had several equivalent markers come the icon-photo consisting of the hat, sweater-type, stance, sloped-shoulders and eyebrows. He also felt the person believed to it is in Charlie Bowdre in the photograph strongly matched known photos that the well known gunman. Prefer Brian Lebel, McWilliams called Randy to save on searching for more information and documentation to support the image. He ended the conference by informing Randy the if he might find the ar the picture was taken and it every matched up, that would be the clincher for proving the photo’s authenticity.

In 2013, after having looked in ~ the photograph several more times, McWilliams lastly arranged a meeting between Randy and also photo-collector Robert McCubbin. The conference was collection up so McCubbin might see the tintype and also enlargement and hopefully, for Randy, provide the photo a tough look to recognize if it was the real deal. When Randy walked right into a las Vegas hotel room to share his picture with McCubbin, john Bossnecker was there too, and Randy knew he to be sunk. Still, he rolled out the large image because that McCubbin that looked at it for only seconds and also dismissed it quickly for the same specific reasons Bossnecker had given in 2011.

The meeting conveniently ended and also Randy started the following phase of his journey with vital question; how can two experts in old-west photography (McWilliams and McCubbins) have actually such a different take-away ~ above the very same image? Randy was dejected and also put the effort to authenticate the picture aside for a while.

I met Randy in October of 2014 through chance and also learned of the story composed above. ~ spending two months working with Randy’s tintype and diving into the background of the Lincoln county War, examining photographs and also doing part low-tech photo-matching, I ended up being convinced that the photograph was probably authentic however was certain the mechanism for photo-authentication in west Americana essential an overhaul. Important pieces that American history and whether they are real or not, must not be left approximately one or two men armed with nothing an ext than their own huge collections and opinions. This is why I collection out to do the documentary that will certainly air Sunday night on National geographical Channel.

I wanted to re-publishing this back-story over because knowing the paper definition of what yes, really happened and also the players affiliated should help much better frame the story because that those the will currently judge the evidence found for the ‘croquet kid’ tintype. As for my straight rebuttal to the comment made in the True West post/article yesterday…here we go:

First off, True West and the gentleman quoted in the post made a rather big error in referee (in my humble opinion) without understanding or see the full body of evidence that has actually been uncovered on this image. V the exemption of Dr. Hutton, that does appear in ours film and is an extremely helpful in learning documentation that supports the photo, the other’s comments were snarky, wining and also lacking any facts to assistance their positions. Us know, as the people bringing the photograph to the public, the the burden of evidence is top top us through this image. The documentary on Sunday is our presentation of that proof. True West and these very respected gentlemen should have waited till Monday to do their positions known simply since none that them have seen the full amount of evidence and also proof the the caused the tintype’s authentication. I repeatedly asked Mr. McCubbin come look at every the proof however he was defiant and rejected the invitations. Ahead of the airing of the film, below are part bullet points to collection the document straight and to refute the error-laden cases of True West’s “dream team” the historians and also photo-collectors:

“The photo has actually no provenance or documentation”; Actually, we’ve uncovered both. The first and most crucial piece that provenance in photography is the place the photo was taken. This is whereby the chain of custody begins. We have found the exact location the photograph was taken and it has been confirmed by three, separate teams that investigators live independence of the manufacturing of the film. Its likewise been proved by the present land-owner that what to be the old Tunstall Ranch on the Felix River, Sterling Hendricks. The lumber framework seen in the croquet photo, which us now recognize was the Felix School developed in 1874 (most likely by Casey), to be actually built over in 1935 and became the flying H School. We recognize this because we discovered some that the initial boards and foundation elements underneath the framework that stands over there today. In addition and many compelling, the broad of the structure there this particular day is 21’6’ wide. The measurements of the old building in the croquet picture are 21’6” wide. These dimensions were made using the same computer system application the positively identifies Bonney, Bowdre, Chisum and O’Folliard. The configuration of roof-pitch, windows and doors has certainly adjusted over time however the building’s dimensions are solid facts, together with many others from the site, the prove this is the spot. Provenance established.

Next, facial-recognition. This is one is tough because quite simply, older human being find accepting this technology challenging to expropriate out of a absence (or willingness) to know it. Bossnecker’s comments around facial-recognition not functioning on 2D pictures is totally out the line and untrue. The facial-recognition expert we used on this project, Kent Gibson, is among the many highly-respected forensic experts in this field. The software provided in positive identifying Billy The Kid, Tom O’Folliard, Sallie Chisum and also Charlie Bowdre in Randy’s picture is the same mechanism used to defend the United states from terrorist attacks. It works. The finds and also helps carry to justice human being that would perform us damage everyday and also does this making use of 2D images. In fact, most of the time, the resource material supplied is much more grainy and also in poorer form than the croquet tintype. Its hard for me to understand just how someone can sit for sure in your office in san Francisco, defended by an innovation like that offered in ours film however then case that same technology is incapable of matching William Bonney native two, usable sources.

“We don’t have any kind of documentation”; Again, yes we do. Sallie Chisum’s hand-written newspaper from 1878 quite plainly explains when and also where every one of the civilization in the photograph came with each other and, once cross-referenced come known, historic movements that the players, creates a small timeline the photograph was taken within. This documentation likewise leads to and also points directly at the Tunstall Ranch for whereby the photograph was taken. Background well-records the truth that Charlie Bowdre and Doc Scurlock relocated their family members from Ruidoso to ft Sumner the first week that September of 1878. Evidence that will certainly be shown in the film points to the croquet tintype being taken throughout this event.

“It doesn’t look like brand-new Mexico…the trees nothing match”; This to be the an initial citation that Bossnecker and McCubbin. According to Professor Owen Burney, at the university of brand-new Mexico’s forestry studies, the trees have been established as White Oaks. If on the fringe that their herbal habit in the late 1870s, that is well-documented that the surrounding town the White Oaks, new Mexico in Lincoln ar was called for a big stand that White Oak trees that thrived near the stream eastern of town. Additionally, naysayers suggest out that if this photograph was bring away in at an early stage September, why space there no pipeline on the trees? Again, Professor Burney cites the in times of significant drought, large trees will drop their leaves early on to protect against mortality. We have actually documentation to prove the a severe drought remained in play in south-eastern brand-new Mexico in between 1876 and 1883. In my opinion, Bossenecker and McCubbin must be disqualified together contributing “experts” in photo-authentication after missing this one so badly.

“Why would certainly they being playing croquet?” “Where are their guns?”; The croquet aspect to the picture is the most exciting to me. When I emailed Fred Nolan earlier in March come ask him to look at the photo and also contribute to the movie (which he denied both), he assumed the aspect of croquet in the photograph with Billy was outrageous. Really? Does he forget that man Tunstall to be English? Does he forget the on page 69 in his own book “The Life and Death of man Henry Tunstall” that writes around how much Tunstall loved the game and also documents that he played it below in phibìc America after ~ immigrating indigenous England? While us can’t prove through facts or evidence that the croquet collection seen in the photograph is Tunstall’s, its in ~ the very least a compelling link between the game and also the civilization in the photo. As for the absence of guns, this is clear a staged photograph to storage some kind of special event. Our photo experts believe it to be to memory the marital relationship of the two world seen ~ above horseback in the photo based upon how the photo is composed. We uncovered brand-new documentation in our search that proves Charlie Bowdre and also Manueal Herrera were in reality married in 1878 and also not in 1876 or 1880 as historians have actually guessed at for years. These files have been provided by decedents that both and also in probate court records of mountain Miguel County, the county ft Sumner was located in 1878. We think the document of their marital relationship was gone into after they come in ft Sumner.

The tintype itself to be analyzed by noted wet-plate collodian photographer will Dunniway. Will is considered one that the ideal itinerate artists in the world today. The date-stamped the croquet photo to a key made between 1877 and also 1881. The chemical procedure used to do the plate speak the tale. Residue and also a close look at the media product itself is continuous with photographs made in that time-frame. Dunniway additionally confirms McWilliams findings that clothes worn is period-correct.

These are simply some that the facts and findings we uncovered end years that research and work ~ above this photo. Insurance claims of a brand-new Billy The Kid photo should be met with hesitation simply as result of the lot of false claims made. But at some point, with an image like the croquet photo, the over-whelming circumstantial evidence linked with solid provenance proves the picture to it is in authentic. Never prior to has photo been placed through such scrutiny or experimentation from a wide-range the photo-experts, historians and researchers and also every among them, close to this project, agrees v the recognize of authenticity and the confirmation of the authenticity by Don Kagin and also David McCarthy.

We space at the allude now, with this lot of evidence, that it is much more outrageous to indicate this isn’t Billy and also The Regulators.

For Mr. Nolan, the over is based upon FACT, not conjecture.

Again, us welcome naysayers to carry forward specific, empirical proof or evidence that refutes our findings. Snarky statements from historians and also “world-famous” photo-collectors aren’t great enough anymore. We and also those that love the history of the Wild West, expect and demand more.

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We’ve excellent our work-related to prove this photo is real. If girlfriend disagree, stand up and show us the proof why it isn’t.

Jeff AielloCo-Executive Producer – “Billy The Kid: brand-new Evidence”National geographic Channel18THIRTY Entertainment