Movie poster of the The Left Handed Gun, depicting Paul Newman's character as left handed, when he holds his gun in his left hand

The Left Handed Gun is a 1958 American western film starring Paul Newman as Billy the Kid and John Dehner as Pat Garrett. The film was directed by Arthur Penn in his first work as film director and the screenplay was written by Leslie Stevens from a teleplay by Gore Vidal for a television version in which Newman also played the character. Vidal revisited and revised the material in 1989 with a TV-movie entitled Billy the Kid.


William Bonney, known as 'Billy the Kid' befriends a man known as 'The Englishman'. His friend is murdered by corrupt businessmen. Bonney's plan for revenge, hunting down and killing all responsible, endangers not only his surviving loved ones, but the international peace set up for the entire territory.

The title refers to the belief that Billy the Kid was left handed, and he shoots left handed in the film, though it is now known that this was a false conclusion drawn from a reversed photograph.


James Best and Denver Pyle would be re-united in The Dukes of Hazzard among other projects. James Best, Denver Pyle, and John Dehner were also in Cast a Long Shadow (1959).

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