By Mark Lee Gardner
“So richly exact, you could virtually scent the gunsmoke and the sweat of the saddles. ”
—Hampton facets, New York occasions bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers
No outlaw typifies America’s mythic Wild West greater than Billy the child. To Hell on a quick Horse by Mark Lee Gardner is the riveting real story of Sheriff Pat Garrett’s exciting, break-neck chase in pursuit of the infamous bandit. David Dary calls To Hell on a quick Horse, “A masterpiece,” and Robert M. Utley calls it, “Superb narrative history.” This is spellbinding historic event at its best possible, recalling James Swanson’s New York Times bestseller Manhunt—about the quest for Lincoln’s murderer, John Wilkes Booth—as it fills in with interesting element the tale director Sam Peckinpah dropped at the monitor in his vintage movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
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Extra info for To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West
S. Marshal Robert Olinger. 50 per day board and ten cents for each mile traveled. Billy had more than a little history with a few of his guards—they had been on opposite sides in the Lincoln County troubles—but the Kid seemed to get along with most of them all right. However, if there was any trouble, either from a rescue attempt or a lynching party, the guards had made it very clear that the first shots they fired would be directed at the Kid. Billy, handcuffed and shackled, rode in an ambulance (a covered spring wagon with seats that could be folded down to make a bed).
The trial began on Wednesday, April 8, 1881, and the spectators were a mix of Hispanic and Anglo folks from around the area. They filled the long wooden seats facing Judge Bristol’s bench, which consisted of a flat-topped desk on a raised platform at one end of the narrow room. The defendant, William H. Bonney, sat to one side of Bristol’s desk. Court Clerk George Bowman remembered Billy as a pleasant-looking young man whose eyes seemed sullen and defiant. ” The Kid silently watched the court proceedings—remarkably, the first time he had ever been tried for any crime—fully aware that his fate was in the hands of the twelve strangers in the jurors’ box.
And although he would come to sign his name P. F. Garrett, the name given to him at birth was Patrick Floyd Jarvis Garrett, a name that had belonged to his maternal grandfather. Grandfather Jarvis died two years after the birth of his grandson, but not before willing his young namesake a rifle, a saddle, and a bridle. As young Pat would eventually learn, such basic items were crucial for a man to survive on his own. Garrett’s father, John Lumpkin Garrett, a native of Georgia, was an ambitious Southern planter.
To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner