A Billy Come Due

There are many songs about Billy the Kid – including Bob Dylan's "Billy," from the soundtrack of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid – but no songs about Pat Garrett, the sheriff in Lincoln County, New Mexico, who killed the charming rogue born William Bonney. “He has become the bad guy,” historian Mark Lee Gardner says of Garrett, “the scoundrel who cut short the bold, romantic life of America's — maybe even the world’s — favorite outlaw.”

In To Hell on a Fast Horse, Mark Lee Gardner serves up dual biographies of Billy and Garrett. “There's no denying the drama and tragedy in the story of two friends on opposite sides of the law,” Gardner says. “But I felt I came across their true relationship in the obscure account of James E. Sligh, a White Oaks newspaper editor who came from the same Louisiana parish as Garrett. Sligh said Garrett told him that while he knew the Kid well, they were neither friends nor enemies: ‘He minds his business and I attend to mine.’”

Gardner will mind everyone’s business tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover at 9315 Dorchester Street in Highlands Ranch. A musician as well as a historian, he might even be persuaded to serve up an Old West tune. But not about Garrett. For more on Gardner, go to www.songofthewest.com; for more on the reading, go to www.tatteredcoverbooks.com.
Thu., Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

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