Western historian Gardner (Wagons for the Santa Fe Trade) delivers a dual biography documenting Sheriff Pat Garrett's hunt for the iconic outlaw William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid. As Gardner sees it, the battle between the wily Kid and the determined Garrett is perhaps the greatest of our Old West legends. Digging beneath the myths and melodrama, he begins in Las Vegas during Christmas week, 1880, when the capture and confinement of Billy the Kid made national headlines. Gardner then details the Kid's daring daylight courthouse escape on April 28, 1881, in a hail of gunfire, leaving bloodied bodies behind. I am not going to leave the country, said the Kid, and I am not going to reform, neither am I going to be taken alive again. The chase began, with Garrett finally gunning down the Kid on July 14, 1881. Gardner concludes with a survey of the Kid's robust mythic afterlife in books and films. Gardner's extensive research and authoritative approach ground this compelling historical recreation. B&w photos.(Feb. 9)
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