Cast & Crew
One night outside Lincoln, New Mexico, Sheriff Pat Garrett kills Billy the Kid in Pete Maxwell's house. After Billy's girl friend races to his gang's hideout to tell them the news, Mosby, assuming leadership, makes plans to redouble their attacks on Lincoln, Pat's hometown, in order to teach him a lesson, while Charlie Poker vows to kill Pat in revenge. A few days later, in Billy's hometown of Fort Sumner, a judge finds Billy's murder justifiable, but the townspeople blame Pat for killing Billy in cold blood. Back in Lincoln, the citizens hear that the gang is approaching and grow fearful. When Pat tries to arrange a posse, only his deputies, Tip McKinney and John W. Poe, stand by him. Finally, a volunteer steps forward, but just then, the gang rides into town, kills him. Afther the gang drops off Pete Maxwell's dead body, and the townspeople blame Pat for the violence. Later in the saloon, another of Billy's henchmen, Ben Charlie, kills a man at the bar and draws on Pat, forcing the sheriff to shoot him in the arm. Pat arrests Charlie, but that night the gang breaks him out of jail and kills Tip. After hearing that he will get no help from the capital, Pat informs his fiancée Clara that he must put a stop to the violence by leaving town. Promising to send for her when he finds a place to live a decent life, Pat turns in his badge and heads toward Texas. He stops in a tiny town called Stone Center, named after founder Walter Stone, who cannot understand why Pat would want to stay in a town with no railroad stop or post office, but nonetheless offers him a job as general store manager. Within months, Pat, who now goes by the name Jim Patrick, is a beloved member of the town. He finally sends for Clara, divulging his location in a letter. When Charlie intercepts the letter, however, he tears off for Stone Center with Wallace. Days later, Pat hopes that the horse he hears outside is Clara, but sees Charlie and Wallace in the street. Upon hearing Charlie inquire about Pat Garrett, Stone deduces "Jim's" real identity and tries to cover for him, but after Charlie threatens to kill a passerby unless Pat comes out, Pat sneaks out into the street. He kills Wallace and then, after being shot in the leg, wounds Charlie. Charlie takes off on his horse, followed closely by Pat, who earns the town's admiration. Guessing Charlie stopped in nearby Tascosa, Pat limps into the town's saloon, but collapses immediately. He wakes in the back room of saloon owner Sarita Maguire, who nurses him back to health and then hires him as a bartender. Days later, Pat beats up some gamblers who threaten Sarita, but each is still not sure if the other is trustworthy. When they finally have dinner together, they realize their mutual attraction, but after Sarita admits that she is the widow of Billy the Kid, Pat leaves. The next day, he announces that he is quitting, but agrees to stay on until Sarita's brother Bert returns to town. When he does come home, hotheaded young Bert declares to Pat that he is going to take Billy's place. Soon after, Pat's deputy John passes through town, and notifies Pat that all of Lincoln now supports him. After informing him that Clara has returned to the East, John places the sheriff's star in Pat's chest pocket. Soon after, Bert reads a newspaper clipping about Billy's death and, recognizing Pat's photo, heads to the saloon to avenge his brother-in-law. There, Pat easily shoots the gun from Bert's hand and bitterly announces that he is through with running away. He brings Bert to Sarita's, but after she learns of Pat's identity and Pat reveals that Billy had many wives, she slaps him and races to the gang headquarters. The gang then gallops off toward Stone Center, leaving Sarita to discover that the woman who lives with them was, indeed, another of Billy's wives, after which she runs back to town to help Pat. The gang arrives in town, where a weakened Bert offers Billy's gun to Pat. During a shootout in the streets, Pat kills three of the four gang members, leaving only Mosby. Mosby shoots Pat in the chest, and Pat pretends to be dead long enough to kill the gang leader. Later, as he, John, Bert and Sarita plan their trip back to Lincoln, Pat feels in his chest pocket and realizes that it was the gold star that stopped the bullet and saved his life.
Harry Harvey Jr.
Holbrook N. Todd
The working title of this film was The Story of Pat Garrett. The historical figures of William H. Bonney, known as "Billy the Kid," and Pat Garrett have been used as characters in numerous films, plays and television programs. For more information on the real Billy the Kid and other versions of the Billy the Kid story, please consult the entry for the 1941 M-G-M picture Billy the Kid, directed by David Miller and starring Robert Taylor and Brian Donlevy (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). Universal re-released Last of the Desperados in August 1958. Modern sources add actors Jack Perrin, Mike Ragan and John Hart to the cast.