The governor of New Mexico could be about to get involved in one of the most classic of Old West storylines in American history.
Gov. Bill Richardson said Thursday he is considering granting a posthumous pardon to the notorious Wild West gunslinger Billy the Kid.
The outlaw is well known for the showdown between he and frontier lawman Pat Garrett almost 130 years ago.
Kid escaped from jail and was then tracked down by Garrett, who shot him down on July 14, 1881.
Descendents of Garrett have expressed outrage over the pending decision, saying such a move represented an "inexcusable defamation" of the lawman.
"If Billy the Kid was living amongst us now, would you issue a pardon for someone who made his living as a thief and, more egregiously, who killed four law enforcement officers and numerous others?" the Garrett family wrote.
"Governor Richardson has always said that he would consider making good on Governor Wallace's promise to Billy the Kid for a pardon," Richardson spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia said Thursday. "He is aware of the Garrett family's concerns and will be meeting with them next week."