By David G. Thomas
Pat Garrett, the Wild West’s most famous lawman – the man who killed Billy the Kid — was himself killed on leap day, February 29, 1908, on a barren stretch of road between his Home Ranch and Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Who killed him?
Was it murder?
Was it self-defense?
Here for the first time, drawing on new, previously undiscovered information, is the definitive answer.
Supplementing the text are 102 images, including six of Garrett and his family which have never been published before. It has 50 years since a new photo of Garrett was published, and no photos of his children have ever been published.
Garrett’s life has been extensively researched. Yet, the author was able to uncover an enormous amount of new information. He had access to over 80 letters that Garrett wrote to his wife. He discovered a multitude of new documents and details concerning Garrett’s killing, the events surrounding it, and the personal life of the man who was placed on trial for killing Garrett.
A few examples:
- The true actions of “Deacon Jim” Miller, a professional killer, who was in Las Cruces the day Garrett was killed.
- The place on the now abandoned old road to Las Cruces where Garrett was killed.
- The autopsy report on Garrett’s death, lost for over 100 years.
- Garrett’s original burial location and tombstone.
- The sworn courtroom testimony of the only witness to Garrett’s killing.
- The New Mexico Territorial Policeman who provided the decisive evidence in the trial of the man accused of murdering Garrett.
- The location of Garrett’s Rock House and Home Ranches.
- New family details: Garrett had a four-month-old daughter the day he killed Billy the Kid. She died tragically at 15. Another daughter was blinded by a well-intended eye treatment; a son was paralyzed by childhood polio; and Pat Garrett, Jr., named after his father, lost his right leg to amputation at age 12.
Garrett’s life was a remarkable adventure, with enormous highs. He met two United States presidents: President William McKinley Jr. and President Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt he met five times, three times in the White House. He brought the law to hardened gunmen. He oversaw hangings. His national fame was so extensive that newspapers from the East to the West Coast only had to write “Pat Garrett” for readers to know to whom they were referring.
He also had devastating lows. He experienced heartbreaking family tragedy. He was blocked for re-appointment as El Paso Customs Collector by unjustified personal animus. He was pursued ruthlessly for a loan that he had co-signed as a favor for a friend. He had his ranches and livestock confiscated and sold on the Las Cruces public square. In spite of his reputation as a gunman, when faced with public humiliation, he responded with commendable dignity. Queried after losing the Custom Collector job, he replied:
“I simply take my medicine.”
This book is written so you experience his life as he did, as it happened, event by event.
258 pages, paperback, or hardback.
Killing Pat Garrett — Book Review
Killing Pat Garrett – Table of Contents
Killing Pat Garrett – List of Images
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Killing Pat Garrett, The Wild West’s Most Famous Lawman – Murder Or Self-Defense? Named 2019 Best Book Awards Finalist, United States History Category.
Killing Pat Garrett, The Wild West’s Most Famous Lawman – Murder Or Self-Defense? Named 2019 Best Indie Book Notable 100 Award Winner.