Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The 1958 theatrical feature The Left-Handed Gun was adapted from the 1955 Philco Television Playhouse offering The Death of Billy the Kid. Both the film and the TV program boasted the same star (Paul Newman), the same author (Gore Vidal) and the same director (Arthur Penn). Broadcast live, The Death of Billy the Kid adhered to basically the same plot of the later film, with newly appointed New Mexico governor Lew Wallace (Matt Crowley) offering outlaw Billy the Kid amnesty if he'll agree to give up his life of crime. But Billy's friendly enemy, Sheriff Pat Garrett (Frank Overton), suspects that the young gunslinger is constitutionally incapable of staying on the right side of the law. The Freudian and homosexual subtext of The Left-Handed Gun was muted in the earlier TV presentation, but the story still retained its dramatic impact.