To Hell on a Fast Horse: The Untold Story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett
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To Hell on a Fast Horse: The Untold Story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett

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by Mark Lee Gardner
     
 

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“So richly detailed, you can almost smell the gunsmoke and the sweat of the saddles. ”
 —Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers

 

No outlaw typifies America’s mythic Wild West more than Billy the Kid. To Hell on a Fast Horse by Mark Lee Gardner is the riveting true tale

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Overview

“So richly detailed, you can almost smell the gunsmoke and the sweat of the saddles. ”
 —Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers

 

No outlaw typifies America’s mythic Wild West more than Billy the Kid. To Hell on a Fast Horse by Mark Lee Gardner is the riveting true tale of Sheriff Pat Garrett’s thrilling, break-neck chase in pursuit of the notorious bandit. David Dary calls To Hell on a Fast Horse, “A masterpiece,” and Robert M. Utley calls it, “Superb narrative history.” This is spellbinding historical adventure at its very best, recalling James Swanson’s New York Times bestseller Manhunt—about the search for Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth—as it fills in with fascinating detail the story director Sam Peckinpah brought to the screen in his classic film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

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Editorial Reviews

Hampton Sides
“The double-helix relationship between Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett is one of the abiding fascinations of the West. No one has come closer than Mark Lee Gardner to capturing their twin destinies and their inevitable final collision....you can almost smell the gunsmoke and the sweat of the saddles. ”
David Dary
“A masterpiece! Mark Gardner’s dual biography of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett cuts through the myth to tell the real story of two real figures in the Wild West. Gardner’s scholarship is superb. This work can only be called a classic.”
Robert M. Utley
“Incredibly deep research combines with the talents of a fine historian and writer to produce superb narrative history. The true character and relationship of these two iconic westerners emerge to suppress myth and correct more than a century of tomes laden with bad history.”
Publishers Weekly
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)
Library Journal
Historian Gardner (Wagons for the Santa Fe Trade) succeeds in writing an accessible double biography of the iconic western outlaw Billy the Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett. Maintaining an objective perspective on both men in a narrative closely tied to historic source materials, Gardner's quick-moving story follows events of the civil war in Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory in 1877–78, and the Kid's death-by-shooting at the hands of Garrett in 1881. This famous shot in the dark, however, became problematic for Garrett, who for the rest of his life had to fight the image of himself as the romantic outlaw's killer. VERDICT The final chapters describing Garrett as an old-style lawman in a postfrontier society, with interactions with President Theodore Roosevelt, serve to distinguish this book from other recent Kid biographies, such as Michael Wallis's Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride. Highly recommended both for readers of popular history and for scholars. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/09.]—Nathan E. Bender, Univ, of Idaho, Moscow

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061368295
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/08/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
325
Sales rank:
193,460
Product dimensions:
7.72(w) x 5.42(h) x 0.82(d)

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What People are saying about this

David Dary
“A masterpiece! Mark Gardner’s dual biography of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett cuts through the myth to tell the real story of two real figures in the Wild West. Gardner’s scholarship is superb. This work can only be called a classic.”
Robert M. Utley
“Incredibly deep research combines with the talents of a fine historian and writer to produce superb narrative history. The true character and relationship of these two iconic westerners emerge to suppress myth and correct more than a century of tomes laden with bad history.”
Hampton Sides
“The double-helix relationship between Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett is one of the abiding fascinations of the West. No one has come closer than Mark Lee Gardner to capturing their twin destinies and their inevitable final collision....you can almost smell the gunsmoke and the sweat of the saddles. ”

Meet the Author

Mark Lee Gardner is the author of To Hell on a Fast Horse and Shot All to Hell, which received multiple awards, including a Spur Award from Western Writers of America. An authority on the American West, Gardner has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, as well as on the History Channel, the Travel Channel, and on NPR. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, True West, Wild West, American Cowboy, and New Mexico Magazine. He lives with his family in Cascade, Colorado.

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