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Anything for Billy does for the gunfighter what Lonesome Dove did for the trail-driving cowboy: re-creates a brief but indelible period as horse-opera bouffe. But the Billy book does something more. Through Ben Sippy, dime novelist and later a scenarist for western movies, McMurtry confects a folklore about the making of folklore. By adding his special glow to long- forgotten pulp fiction and the advent of a machine that projects our fantasies, he answers the fundamental question, Why would a nation that strongly believed in its manifest destiny enshrine in its legends a nihilistic punk who had no future at all?