Catherine's Son
James L. Smith

Finalist for the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards

Before the world knew Henry McCarty as Billy the Kid, he was a quick-witted and industrious boy living with his mother in the New Mexico Territory. Under his mother’s loving guidance, he seemed destined for a conventional life as a law-abiding and well-respected man, a man who would make any mother proud.

According to Louis Abraham, one of Henry’s friends, Henry “came from an ordinary good American home. Good parents, and a good environment in the home." His teacher Mary Richards said he “was a scrawny little fellow with delicate hands and an artistic nature … always quite willing to help with the chores around the schoolhouse … no more of a problem in school than any other boy growing up in a mining camp."

Fate intervened, however, and young Henry turned to the wrong side of the law, becoming one of history’s most notorious outlaws. By the time of his death at age twenty-one, he was known throughout the world as a murderer and thief — the “devil’s meat,” as one newspaper described him.

Catherine’s Son is a work of historical fiction that tells the story of how Henry McCarty became Billy the Kid, a young outlaw portrayed by the press as the “terror and disgrace” of the New Mexico Territory.


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