First, let me come right out and say it, I’m a huge Louis L’Amour fan. He was my introduction into Westerns and for decades has remained my “go-to” for a Saturday afternoon. I’ve read each of his books at least three times over the years and many of them more often than that. Before today, I last read “Mustang Man” in 2010 and before that, in 2006.
I have often said about L’Amour that while he wrote more than 100 Westerns, he really wrote one and changed the names 99 times. It’s an exaggeration, to be sure, but it’s not too far from the truth. “Mustang Man” is a little different. Of course, if you like L’Amour, you’ll like “Mustang Man.” It has a lone, tall, strong, quick-with-a-gun protagonist, in this case one of his “go-to” protagonists, a Tennessee Sackett.
Nolan Sackett, as all L’Amour good guys do, runs into some bad guys. In this case, more than they normally do. L’Amour spices up the book by adding one of the purest evil women you’ll find in any Western. With no redeeming features, other than her looks, she challenges men to cross the line Western men hate to cross: killing a woman. He carries that right through to the end. He also adds another woman to the mix, leaving us in doubt right up to the last page (and maybe beyond, depending on how you read the ending) as to whether or not she’s also evil.
Add in a typical “hidden gold” story, a “haunted” canyon, the possibility of superstition and an outlaw who struggles the entire book with his desire to live while battling his “save the girl” instincts and you’ve got “Mustang Man.” It makes for quite a page-turner and a very enjoyable read. If you’re curious, it took two full cigars on the hammock to reads this one. Enjoy!