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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West » User review

A Whole Lot of Nothing

  • Jul 4, 2010
  • by
Having always been a fan of the story of Billy the Kid since Young Guns, I was truly disappointed in this book.
It begins with telling the stories of both Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett from well before they crossed paths. From New York to New Mexico their worlds would collide. There are many stories out there that portrayed them as friends, but this one does the tales justice by debunking that theory. All though they may have worked together from time to time, Pat Garrett never really "ran" with Billy.
The story of Pat Garrett was fascinating for me. I had never really understood him in ways that this author portrayed him. He was a hard working man, who tried to do right by his family. He had big dreams that always didn't pan out and alienated him from his family.
I was truly disappointed in this book as the author's wild tangents were strewn with hearsay and maybes. Those do not belong in a book that is supposed to be one of fact. Most of the fact he deems worthy of writing ends with "It may have happened that way, it may not have. Only those that were there will know." If an author isn't sure of fact then it doesn't belong in an auto-biographical book. This book, in my opinion, was full of filler and I considered it a waste of two days. The only thing I took away from it was the stories of Pat Garrett. That and the bag the book came in.

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review by . March 14, 2010
Until I read this book I had only read mythological accounts of Billy the Kid, which usually contain nothing of Pat Garrett’s life.  Books and movies have mythologized Bill they Kid as a Robin Hood type, happy go lucky outlaw and Pat Garrett is demonized as a cowardly man who shot him down in the dark. This book dispels those myths and gives a fuller account of the lives of both these men in a well written and documented dual biography. The book walks through the early life of both men, …
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About this book


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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ISBN-10: 006136827X
ISBN-13: 978-0061368271
Author: Mark Lee Gardner
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, History
Publisher: William Morrow
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