“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.
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.