Hell Comes to New Mexico

Courtesy of William Morrow Publishing.

–by Michael Pierce

TO HELL ON A FAST HORSE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF BILLY THE KID AND PAT GARRETT by Mark Lee Gardner. Available April 21 2020. Published by William Morrow. Updated edition.

The lives of bandits and the people who brought them down are inextricably intertwined. John Dillinger and Melvin Purvis. Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow and Frank Hamer. Jesse James and Bob Ford and his brother Charlie. The Earps and the Clantons. And quite often, the deaths of those who meted out justice with a gun can be just as violent as those they were responsible for killing.

Billy the Kid

Such was the case with Billy Bonney (aka the Kid) and Pat Garrett.

Billy has come down through history as the scourge of New Mexico, nothing more than a rustler and a killer, while history tells us that Garrett was the type of lawman who, once he was on the trail of a desperado, pursued them with the tenacity of a bulldog playing tug of war. Yet it’s Billy who has emerged as a folk hero, a simple yet cunning young man who was a friend to small children.

Pat Garrett

TO HELL ON A FAST HORSE tells the stories of these two men, and it’s a wild ride. Mark Lee Gardner has successfully separated fact from fiction, giving his readers an informative and entertaining book. Gardner digs into the confusion that was the life of Billy and the background of Pat Garrett, and he presents us with a pair of enigmas. One thing that he does prove is that Billy and Pat, although they knew and knew of each other, were never buddies.

Mark Lee Gardner. Photo by Vance Lee Gardner.

Billy’s lifestyle took him all over New Mexico and Arizona, quite often with Garrett on his trail. After killing Billy in what some would believe was a cowardly manner. Garrett was both celebrated and reviled. He bounced from job to job until he finally met his end at the muzzle of a gun.

This book is an important addition to the history of the American West. Take some time and immerse yourself in the story.


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