A Question of Bounty
On July 14, 1881, the outlaw Billy the Kid is killed by Pat Garrett. Or was he? This novel tells the tale of how William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, spent the last years of his life until Sheriff Pat Garrett claims to have killed him. This is a fictional account of what may have happened during those years, along with Billy’s love affair with the 15-year-old Paulita Maxwell. Several scenes in this novel coincide with films depicting the life of this famous outlaw. Did Garrett kill the wrong man on the night of the 14th? Did Billy the Kid live the remainder of his life as John Miller and die in the 1930s? As the author states in his notes, “historians have their verdict, history has its legend.”
I’ve read other westerns by Paul Colt, and he has the ability to mix historical and fictional characters with great success. Even though this novel is based on conjecture, the reader will give pause to contemplate if Billy the Kid lived many years after the supposed gunfight in New Mexico. The steady unraveling of the plot is genuinely exciting. A real page-turner of a western. Highly recommended.