Release Date:   12/12/2018

RE:   NEW Billy the Kid photo exhibit !

Who:   RJ Pastore – Featured in two History Channel documentaries for solving the mystery of Jesse James faking his death.

RJ Pastore /316.461.1118 /

What: Original Historic Photo Collection


When: While Pastore’s journey has taken over two decades, the collection was only revealed to the public via the website in 2013.

Why:   Pastore began this adventure of discoveries in 1998 while investigating the death ruse of Jesse James. He searched out a family from SE Kansas who were in possession of many original Jesse James heirlooms. The collection had been handed down through the family and has a clear chain of custody to the current descendants.

Jesse W. James
Circa 1880

Jesse Lee James
Jesse James’ GGgrandson

Pastore acquired his first set of Jesse James photos on a research trip to St. Joseph, MO to visit the crime scene. The house where “Jesse” was murdered is now a part of the Patee House Museum. The group of 5 photos was acquired in an large antique store across the street from the Jesse James Home Museum. Since then Pastore has reunited many of James family photos in to one collection. One day the collection will have a public venue as a permanent exhibition. Until then, the web is a fine medium to share a small portion of these rare relics.

How:   Pastore’s forensics and archaeological investigations were the skills that gave him the insight to apply a scientific approach in the search for more historically significant artifacts. The allegory of scraping away layers of sediments is akin to sorting through layers of history saved in family photos. Going back in time through the changing technologies from paper prints, Carte de Viste (CDV’s), tintypes, glass plate Daguerreotype establishes a timeline. Each photo is studied for subject matter, content analysis, facial comparison, software analysis, cross-sectional analysis of related materials and locality are some of the research criteria employed.

Provenance: The chain of custody of a photograph has become paramount in validating historic significance. Almost any other areas of historic materials stand on their own for what they are. A famous painting, even unsigned work stands alone. A Faberge egg or Tiffany lamp, Lalique glass, if genuine do not need a provenance or even a signature.

The RJ Pastore Collection establishes a strong chain of evidence  by connecting the images to the know subjects shown appearing together in the photos. There is further triangulation of evidence in their connection to other photos repeatedly showing the same subjects together in group photos. These linked photos become self-authenticating and valid historical specimens.

This photo was authenticated by an ASA Certified appraiser and has an auction estimate of nearly $50,000.00.

Considering the mixed subject matter of the photo above, there are many similarities to key markers for a comparison profile.

  • Billy the Kid is in the same hat from the Koch Regulator photo.
  • Billy is seen here with his mother, Catherine McCarty.
  • The girl in the middle appears to be Billy’s sister Bridget.
  • Billy sits behind his girlfriend Paulita Maxwell, niece to his employer, Lucien B. Maxwell.
  • Billy is with three fellow Regulators.
  • The tall Hispanic man on the right is Jose Chavez y Chavez.
  • The man in middle is Deputy Dick Brewer.
  • Dan Dedrick is seated below in the dress. Yes, Dan is wearing a female disguise, complete with a bonnet on his lap.

This photograph is a self-authenticating artifact, as there is no mistaking who these people are. This is a one of a kind, once in a lifetime heirloom that illuminates a special magical moment in an Epic life of Billy the Kid. Take a moment to reflect on all of the events that coalesced to take this photo. Then consider all of the event that were yet to occur in the brief time after the photo was taken. And finally, consider the circumstanced that had to occur for it to make its way into the RJ Pastore Collection 140 years down the road. Now it can be seen and shared in a rock solid context to enrich us all.

There have been many historic articles presented as authentic based on provenance, even recently in the news. But they were duplicate copies of an original or out right forgeries. The weight of evidence is greater when the artifact is consistent with the evidence of expert and technological analysis. That is the standard scientific model in all other matters.

Traffic: The site has surpassed one million visitors, and receives about 1000 hits per day. The average time spent viewing some of the 56 pages is about 20 minutes. All of the traffic is by organic referral and word of mouth as there is no marketing campaign or web blogs.

A call to action: Take a tour of Pastore’s amazing collection of Billy the Kid tintype photographs. You will see an array of will preserved images of William H. McCarty, Jr alias Billy the Kid. There is an unbroken time-line of photos  illustrating Billy’s long life. The general public deserves to be informed about this National treasure of rare one of a kind photos.

There are many startling revelations that come to light within these pages of original photographs. The photos link together forming a chain of evidence that proves Billy the Kid’s early death was a hoax.

Additionally, the RJ Pastore Collection reveals that there were in fact 3 sets of cousins named Frank and Jesse James. What is astounding in that they documented the fact by having their photo taken all together in one group portrait. There are group photos of the Younger brother with Billy the Kid, the Ford brothers and Doc Holiday and many more famous figures.

Typically, this sort of expose’ would create quite an uproar among traditional historians. Pastore has spent the past 10 plus years shaking up the Jesse James genre, but this will surely blow the lid off another century old murder mystery. There was, without a doubt a murder in Ft. Sumner, NM,  but we may never know the true identity of the man that was buried as Billy the Kid. One thing is for certain, William Henry McCarty, Jr. lived on into his old age and these photos prove it.

Contact RJ Pastore interviews and news articles about these precious artifacts. One can only speculate as to the possible value of such an authentic and credible collection of historic nonpareil.


RJ Pastore

PO Box 477, Benton, KS 67017