“I don't blame you for writing of me as you have. You had to believe other stories, but then I don't know if any one would believe anything good of me anyway.” — Billy the Kid
The accounts of western outlaw Billy the Kid’s notorious life arrived at the Library of Congress today in 1882. The biography was written by Sheriff Pat Garrett — the Lincoln County, New Mexico lawman who shot and killed the folk hero. Garrett may seem gallant and brave in his book, but there are two sides to every story — and historians have suggested his version of events are outright fictionalized as the Sheriff’s attempt at creating a career in politics, claiming that Billy the Kid’s murders were justified in the eyes of the law. Working alongside a local constable, Billy the Kid killed several fighters during an Old West conflict between rival factions dubbed the Lincoln County Wars, and he was the only participant pursued by law enforcement despite the death toll claiming many lives on both sides. Wherever the truth lies, this quintessential and timeless American tall tale has captured audiences for more than a century, providing inspirational for countless books, films, and campfire tales.