The Old West of Billy the Kid is still with us. And so is Hollywood’s Old West.
The governor has been entertaining the idea of a pardon for the Kid since 2003, and the Legislature considered a pardon before that. The descendents of Sheriff Pat Garrett, who killed the kid in 1881, have made their opposition clear.
In 2001, historian Bob Boze Bell and I took opposing positions on the question in side-by-side newspaper columns. Bell made a case for forgiveness; I argued that Billy was a rustler, horse thief and back shooter, not a misunderstood youth.