PAT GARRETT by Richard O'Connor


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Subtitled ""a biography of the famous marshal and killer of Billy the Kid,"" this book by the author of Wild Bill Hickok, Bat Masterson, etc., is in fact as much the story of the Kid as it is of the man who killed him. And like Tularosa by Sonnichsen, another authority on the Southwest, it is also an account of the bloody New Mexican cattle wars of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Alabama in 1850, Garrett came to Lincoln County, New Mexico, as a young man, and was for a time the bosom friend of Billy the Kid, nine years his junior and already started on his murderous career. Turning to law enforcement, Garrett broke with the Kid and in 1881, ordered to capture the outlaw, who had broken jail under sentence of death for murder, shot him at night at the house of a friend, thereby saving his own life and earning the enduring hatred of the Kid's followers. Garrett lived out his life in the Pecos and Tularosa Valleys, writing, with a ghost, The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, bringing irrigation to the Pecos, and in the Tularosa failing to capture the killers behind the notorious murder of Colonel Fountain and his small son; in 1908 he was himself shot in the back, probably by a hired killer. Carefully documented and competently written but adding little to present historical knowledge, a mine already well worked, this book, like Tularosa, (p. 353) should appeal to more literate addicts of ""Westerns"" and to beginning students of American frontier history.

Pub Date: June 24th, 1960
Publisher: Doubleday