TO HELL ON A FAST HORSE
Mark's Latest Nonfiction Book From William Morrow and Harper
Mark appeared on KHOW's Peter Boyles Show. Listen to the interview:
Mark appeared on KCUR's Up to Date with Steve Kraske. Listen to the interview:
Mark appeared on Think with Kris Boyd on KERA, Dallas, Texas. To hear the interview, click the player:
Mark joined PBS American Experience director John Maggio for an interview on Radio West, broadcast from KUER-FM in Salt Lake City. Click the player:
Mark discussed To Hell on a Fast Horse and performed the historic music of Billy the Kid and his times on Book-TV. Watch the video here.
Mark appeared in the 2012 PBS American Experience documentary Billy the Kid. Watch the full program here.
NPR's Weekend Edition mentions To Hell on a Fast Horse as a "hot vacation read." Listen to the broadcast here.
Praise for To Hell on a Fast Horse
"Gardner catapults into the front rank of western writers with this riveting account of the pursuit and slaying of the Southwest’s most notorious outlaw. Drawing on meticulous research, coupled with a keen eye for character and plot, Gardner constructs a compelling portrait of two men locked in a death struggle that captured the contemporary imagination and reverberates down to the present day. Sallie, the niece of cattle baron John Chisum, put it best when she told the writer Walter Noble Burns (quoted in Gardner’s final paragraph) that “there was good mixed with the bad in Billy the Kid and bad mixed with the good in Pat Garrett . . . .Both were real men. Both were worth knowing.” Gardner shows why that was so, and why it matters. Along the way, he provides one hell of a good read."
-- Bruce Dinges, Panelist, 2010 Southwest Books of the Year
"The double-helix relationship between Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett is one of the abiding fascinations of the West. No one has come closer than Mark Lee Gardner to capturing their twin destinies, and their inevitable final collision. Gardner's research is so richly detailed, you can almost smell the gunsmoke and the sweat of the saddles."
-- Hampton Sides, author of the New York Times bestsellers Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers
"A masterpiece! Mark Gardner's dual biography of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett cuts through the myth to tell the real story of two real figures in the Wild West. Gardner's scholarship is superb. This work can only be called a classic."
-- David Dary, author of The Santa Fe Trail: Its History, Legends, and Lore
"Incredibly deep research combines with the talents of a fine historian and writer to produce superb narrative history. The true character and relationship of these two iconic westerners emerge to suppress myth and correct more than a century of tomes laden with bad history."
-- Robert M. Utley, author of Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life
"Expertly marshaling all the known facts and utilizing quotes from the public record and solid sources, Gardner spins out a concise and quick moving tale. Even though I have been reading and studying this story for almost a half century, I still found details in almost every episode I did not know....Perhaps the best part of the book for me is the section on the death of Garrett. All of the controversial, and sometimes confusing, aspects are covered. Gardner really takes you on a ride, and when you think about it, that's what we want: a thrilling ride to hell on a fast horse."
-- Bob Boze Bell, Executive Editor, True West magazine, and author of The Illustrated Life and Times of Billy the Kid
[T]his is an assured and masterly addition to the literature of Billy the Kid, and the author is to be highly commended for yeoman work well done, for new facts well found, for level judgments and perceptive insights well presented, and for what, after all, is the whole point of the exercise: to give the reader impeccable research, state-of-the-art overview, and best of all, a hell of a good read.
-- Frederick Nolan, Wild West History Journal
"Gardner's narrative deftly weaves the tales of both men, and takes the reader on one of the greatest adventures in Western history. The Kid can't help but take center stage, though, and his transition from school-aged boy...to one of the Wild West's most formidable outlaws is riveting....Gardner's extensive research, along with his use of historic photographs, makes this a must-read for Western history buffs. It's also simply a well-written tale of adventure and a sordid human saga."
-- American Cowboy
"The author has done Billy and Garrett up right, rewarding readers with a superbly written story, utterly enthralling and unforgettable."
-- Marc Simmons, Santa Fe New Mexican
"The life story of Billy the Kid is told in tandem with the story of his most dogged pursuer, Sheriff Pat Garrett, in To Hell on a Fast Horse, a freewheeling, yet meticulously researched, dual biography....Gardner’s passion for his subjects shines through on every page. His extensive review of primary sources and published research adds further illumination."
-- History Book Club
"[A]n engrossing examination of the lives of both men and the political and economic milieu of nineteenth-century New Mexico....This is a fine effort to de-mystify a legendary episode in the history of the American West."
"Gardner, who has made a career out of researching and writing about New Mexican territorial history, tells the story of the young outlaw and his killer in great detail, crafting a narrative that reads like a novel. With evocative character descriptions of many of the men, outlaw or lawman, involved in the rivalry between Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett,
-- Santa Fe Reporter
"Digging beneath the myths and melodrama, [Gardner] begins in Las Vegas during Christmas week, 1880, when the capture and confinement of Billy the Kid made national headlines....Gardner's extensive research and authoritative approach ground this compelling historical recreation."
-- Publishers Weekly
"Mark Lee Gardner's To Hell on a Fast Horse is a fine story about the Kid and his nemesis, Sheriff Pat Garrett. It's as absorbing as a novel."
"[A] vividly told, action-packed and thoroughly enjoyable look at the complete lives of two of the Old West’s iconic figures."
-- FrontPage Magazine
"Gardner demystifies one of the great Old West legends, meticulously describing how Sheriff Pat Garrett hunted down outlaw Billy the Kid after his 1881 escape from a jail in Lincoln County, N.M. Billy comes off as reckless, homicidal and improvisational. Sheriff Garrett is cold-blooded, methodical and every bit as wily as his foe. On July 14, 1881, Garrett finally caught up with Billy the Kid. The rest is history. Gardner's exhaustive research brings this legend back to life."
-- Mike Pitel, Billy the
"Gardner, a tenacious researcher, tears into the story, debunking many legends, correcting several long-held "facts," and offering new insight into a story that remains popular almost 130 years after the Kid was killed in a darkened bedroom in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and more than 100 years after Garrett was shot dead in the desert east of Las Cruces, New Mexico….To Hell on a Fast Horse is an enjoyable and fascinating ride that takes readers closer to the truth behind the legend of these two great western figures."
-- Johnny Boggs, H-Net Reviews
"Based on meticulous research in primary sources, the book recounts Sheriff Pat Garrett's relentless pursuit of the Kid....[Gardner] captures Garrett's tenacity, which finally brought Billy's career to an end."
-- Washington Post
"Highly recommended both for readers of popular history and for scholars."
-- Library Journal
-- New York Post
"[Y]ou can almost feel the winds of Lincoln County breeze across your face and taste the sand of the streets in your mouth as you experience Billy and Pat's lives through Gardner's words. To Hell on a Fast Horse is perfect to satisfy anyone's interest in the legendary Kid and the man who would bring him to Western justice."
-- Las Vegas Review-Journal
"The story is all here, well researched and well told....Gardner tells a true and dramatic story, and one remembers Orson Welles' quip, 'I don't think history possibly can be true.' But, of course, it is."
-- Lincoln Journal Star
"Mark Lee Gardner uncovers the story hidden under the myth....[His] portrait of Billy the Kid is both fascinating and revealing....Yet more fascinating than the tale of the outlaw — who exits Gardner’s narrative by the middle of the book — is Gardner’s portrait of Billy the Kid’s nemesis, Pat Garrett. It is the first complete biography of the man.....To Hell on a Fast Horse is a book that will interest fans of Western history. It offers new insights into an often-told tale."
-- Galveston County Daily News
To Hell on a Fast Horse is a good one. Never has a tour of hell been so much fun.