Who Are Some Famous American Cowboys?


Quick Answer

Some famous American cowboys include Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday and Jesse James. Billy the Kid was one of the most famous outlaws and thieves of the late 19th century. Holliday, a gambler, joined Wyatt Earp in the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. James was a murdering outlaw who continued to fight the Civil War long after the war ended.

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Full Answer

Billy the Kid, born in 1859, became an outlaw after killing Sheriff Brady during the Lincoln County War in Arizona. Born William Henry McCarty Jr., Billy the Kid escaped prison in 1880 by killing the guards and went on the run for a year before being shot to death by Pat Garrett in 1881.

Holliday, born in 1851, was a trained dentist. He loved gambling and drinking, which led to a number fights and killings. He fled from Texas to Dodge City, Kansas, where he became friends with Earp. He traveled with Earp to Tombstone, Arizona, where he helped Earp until 1882 in gunfights and other killings. He died of tuberculosis in 1887.

James preferred to take out his frustrations regarding losing the Civil War by robbing northerners. Born in 1847, James considered himself a Robin Hood-style heroic fighter, although he kept most, if not all of the money he stole. Bob Ford, of his own gang members shot him in the back of the head in 1882, killing him.

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