In this fictional story Billy is reformed by a rancher turned marshal, who is murdered, causing Billy to kill in revenge.
In 1880 William "Billy the Kid" Bonney (Robert Taylor) breaks his friend Pedro (Frank Puglia) out of jail. Billy goes into a saloon and insists Spike (Lon Chaney Jr.) serve Pedro. Dan Hickey (Gene Lockhart) offers Billy a job to make Keating sell his cattle at a high price. Billy, Cobb (Ted Adams), and their men stampede Keating's cattle. Billy meets his friend Jim Sherwood (Brian Donlevy), foreman for Keating. Jim tells Eric Keating (Ian Hunter) that Hickey caused the stampede and hired Billy. Jim says young Billy killed his father's acquitted murderer. Billy gets his $200 from Hickey. Keating calls on Hickey and meets Billy without a gun. Billy follows Keating, who says law and order is coming. They shoot buzzards and find Tom Patterson, injured from the stampede. Tom dies, and his wife cries. Keating gives Billy tea. Jim wants to go after Hickey's men, but Keating stops him. Billy meets Keating's sister Edith (Mary Howard) but won't work for Keating. Tim Ward (Henry O'Neill) publishes an appeal to the Governor for law. Hickey sends Spike to make Ward eat it; but Billy stops it. Hickey threatens Billy if he quits, but he does.
Billy gets Pedro a job with Keating and accepts one too. Billy makes two of Hickey's men leave. Billy finds Pedro dead and tells Keating and Jim he will get who did it. Keating gives Billy a report to mail. Billy buries Pedro in Monument Valley. Billy gives Edith a colt for her birthday. Keating tells Billy and Jim he is now a marshal; he makes Jim a deputy and gives Billy his parole. Keating says that Jim is marrying Edith.
Jim and Billy find Keating's horse, and Billy goes after him. Billy finds Keating shot in the back. Billy tells Jim that Keating is dead. Jim says they will arrest the killer and gathers a large posse. Ward tells Jim that Hickey sent him to say that Keating was harboring a criminal; but Ward joins Jim. In town Hickey submits to Jim, but Billy refuses to give up his gun and is arrested with Ward, who tells Billy who killed Keating. Edith visits Billy and says Jim is for order. Hickey tells Sheriff Cass (Cy Kendall) to shoot Billy and leaves. Cass lets Billy out but is shot by Billy. Ward tells Jim and Hickey that Billy escaped. Billy chases and kills Cobb and Claxton. Billy finds Ed Shanahan and Pat Shanahan. Hickey and Jim find the Shanahans dead, and Jim warns Billy not to kill Hickey. As Hickey runs, Billy shoots him in the back. In a gun duel Jim shoots Billy, who dies.
While mass murdering is occurring in Europe, this western
suggests that law and order will soon replace violent revenge.
A fictional story of the skilled Billy the Kid also shows that
the violent often die young.