‘Billy The Kid’ Season 2 Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Billy Convince Jesse To Switch Allegiances?

Billy the Kid Season 1’s ending set the stage for the Lincoln County Wars. Billy had changed allegiances and chosen to fight for John Tunstall. This was a move that shocked Jesse, but he respected his friend’s decision. Jesse was glad that Billy told him about his decision before leaving the gang. Billy had taken a stand that would change the dynamics of the war. Lawrence Murphy was willing to take up the fight without Billy on their side. The trigger point of the war is what the first episode is about.


Spoilers Ahead

What happens at the house?

The first episode of the second season began with Billy and a group of people being ambushed. They knew Murphy’s men were behind the attack but it was not revealed to the audience. It was Billy’s presence of mind that helped them escape but the episode didn’t mention how the attack began or who survived it. We are expecting the incident will be covered in detail by the end of Billy the Kid season 2. The short sequence established an impending danger that we are certainly going to witness sooner or later.


What is John Tunstall’s plan?

John Tunstall’s businesses were flourishing, which included a store and a cattle ranch. His new business venture was to start a bank in town. Billy is fighting for John, but besides that, he wants his team to be prepared for any kind of assault from Murphy’s group. John’s end goal was to make sure his businesses function smoothly in the state.  He also wants to challenge the rampant corruption that takes place because of Murphy and his men.

Tunstall’s lawyer, Alex McSween, knows a ground war between the groups was not enough. They wanted to change the system from within for it to be beneficial for all. Tunstall would ruffle some feathers by going after corrupt businessmen like Murphy. Since America was a capitalist society, Tunstall had no reason to believe he could be stopped.


John assigned Billy to lead the group of gunmen and train them. Billy declined the offer because there were other experienced men and he was willing to work under them because they were aware of the atmosphere in Lincoln County than anyone else. Billy was a soldier, and he did not have the leadership qualities that Tunstall was looking for. McSween, on the other hand, spoke to Judge Wilson to form a strong case against Murphy and ‘the House’, which was the hub of all corrupt practices happening in the county. McSween knew Judge Wilson was the only government official in the area who was not a sellout. After the Judge delivered a verdict against Murphy, his son was killed in retaliation. This was the kind of ruthlessness Murphy functioned on. Despite his history with Murphy, the Judge was willing to work with Tunstall and McSween and bring down the corrupt men who were in positions of power.

Are Lawrence Murphy and his associates in trouble?

Lawrence Murphy’s businesses were struggling financially, and they were on the brink of bankruptcy. Despite all these setbacks, his associates were willing to take the risk and be a part of the war. Murphy, who had essentially become a drunkard, had no clue what was happening around him. His associates, John Riley and James Dolan were the only men who were concerned about protecting their investments.


The associates speak to Jesse Evans about having no plans to back down on the war against Tunstall. All business associates of Murphy were worried about their financial standing. Even if the war was inevitable, Riley and Dolan wanted to take control of the businesses and the money instead of letting Murphy run the show. The man who had started the war had no capacity to help his people or save any of his establishments. Murphy is at fault for the war which is about to begin.

Out of nowhere, the makers of this season cut off the character James Dolan, who seems to have died by suicide in the show after he was asked to step down from the business that was already suffering. Either Murphy and Riley killed him because he knew too much about their malpractices, or Dolan could not take the humiliation of being asked to leave.


What does the banker Thomas Catron want from Murphy’s associates?

Thomas Catron, Murphy, and his team were long-standing associates. It was implied Murphy’s banking transactions and funding were handled by Thomas Catron. The said banker is as ruthless as Murphy, who does not entertain competition. Catron was keen on funding Murphy’s war against John Tunstall. He was aware of Murphy’s poor financial standing and Catron was aware only he could solve their problems.

Catron sent his son-in-law, Edward Walz, to propose a new business deal with Murphy. Thomas and Edgar wanted Murphy and his team to bring down Tunstall’s bank. Their aim was to throw Tunstall and his associates out of the town because John’s business had started affecting Catron bank’s as well. It can be assumed that Thomas Catron could be a part of the Sante Fe ring, which amplifies his arrogance and a desperate need to destroy Tunstall. Murphy and his team are willing to do what’s asked of them for ending Tunstall’s businesses will benefit them as well. They also had Mexican associates who could help them get support from their community. Even though Mexicans were not treated as equals by the locals, Murphy needed all the help he could get to win.


Thomas Catron was also keen on understanding who Billy the Kid as the famed gunman had become a bone of contentment. Billy’s move to Tunstall’s camp was purely based on morality. Catron is curious to know what is the big deal about him as people spoke about Billy with a lot of fear. 

Did Billy convince Jesse to switch allegiances?

John Tunstall was worried about the hostile situation in the town, amidst which he opened a bank. Billy has so far been willing to believe in John’s cause. He’d seen no reason not to trust this man, who claims to be running a legitimate business. John comes across as a clean businessman, and we wonder if all of this was a façade to get the people to rally behind him. It is difficult to comprehend a business as transparent as this one thriving despite opposition from Murphy and his associates.


John knew this war could cost him a lot which made him speak to Billy about requesting Jesse to join their team. John sternly believes Murphy is a crook, and he would probably not treat Jesse and his gang right. Billy probably wanted to use that as an example to make Jesse understand the situation at hand. If Jesse switches sides, this war will be over in no time. John is being smart here by making Billy plant a seed of doubt in Jesse’s mind so that it would compel them to think, if not change their minds.

Billy made the offer but Jesse had no intention of changing his allegiance. Jesse had some pride in him and probably wanted to see Billy on the battlefield to witness his skills. Billy tried his best to change Jesse’s mind, but he was unsuccessful; it was certain that his friend was still livid at him for abandoning the group. Even if Jesse had changed his mind he would be killed by his gang members or Murphy’s men. Jesse could not take that chance by taking  up this tempting offer. Jesse loves Billy, but his loyalties force him to not change his stand.


How Does The Episode End?

Billy the Kid Episode 1 ends with John hallucinating Moss, the wagon driver from his childhood who not only taught him how to use a gun, but who piqued his interest in gunslinging as well. There was no indication as to why this imaginary figure would appear in front of Billy. The young man was probably feeling helpless now that Jesse had decided to remain with Murphy. Billy was probably on the lookout for a familiar face that could guide him. Moss quickly disappears after stating that things never happen the way Billy would plan. This statement could imply the people he is fighting for might not be the moral ones. One could also infer that the war might go in Murphy’s favor as well. Things probably won’t be taking the route Billy expected. There could be some revelations about John Tunstall that might come out, which will probably make Billy believe this war could have been avoided. The second episode will dig deeper into this rivalry, and hopefully, a lot of new revelations will come out.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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