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Book Review: Johnny Vengeance

Johnny Welker was 14 years old when he was drawn running back to his home by the sound of gunshots. The rifle shot was from one of four “hardcases” who decided to kill his father rather than pay $1.75 for them and their horses to ride the ferry. His mother got off a harmless shot

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Book Review: Hondo

“Hondo” is Louis L’Amour’s first full-length novel (1953) and is considered by many to be his best. Hondo Lane, a dispatch rider for the U.S. Army, stumbles, horseless, onto a ranch in the middle of Arizona and the middle of an Apache/Army war. Angie Lowe and her 6-year-old son are alone on the ranch and

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Movie Review: Appaloosa

In the simplest of terms, this is a terrific movie, one of the better Westerns I’ve had the pleasure of watching — and I’ve now watched it a number of times. In 1882, Appaloosa, New Mexico, finds itself as a town without a city marshal or a spine. Appaloosa is under the thumb of the

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Book Review: The Hell Bent Kid

Charles O. Locke’s 1957 novel, “The Hell Bent Kid,” centers around a teenager, Tot Lohman, who is forced to defend himself at a schoolhouse dance and winds up killing Shorty Boyd, the son of a violent, vengeful cattle baron. Lohman finds himself on the wrong side of the power barons, especially Shorty’s dad, and though

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Book Review: Epitaph

“Epitaph” is one of five Westerns written by L.J. Washburn, whose full name is Livia J. Washburn. The story is about Hank Littleton, a teenage boy being raised by his grandfather in a small West Texas town. In a matter of days, Hank thwarts a robbery, killing two of the three would-be robbers, and in

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Book Review: Coyote Canyon

“Coyote Canyon” is a short novel written by Sharon Siamon. It is written for children, ages 10 through middle school, and I think it is fair to say the primary audience would be girls. It is set in the West, though late 20th century, not 19th. However, it is a Western. So why did I

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Book Review: Double Crossing

“Double Crossing” was Meg Mims’ first published novel, though she has since published many, including the sequel to “Double Crossing” — “Double or Nothing.” “Double Crossing” won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from the Western Writers of America, and it was also a finalist for the USA Book News Award for fiction. “Double

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Book Review: Diamondback: Shroud of Vengeance

Pick a Saturday afternoon, any Saturday afternoon, and grab your favorite beverage and perhaps a good cigar. Settle in for a couple of hours and enjoy Pike Bishop’s Diamondback: Shroud of Vengeance. This is an adult Western, the 1970s and 1980s version of a pulp Western, and it’s just old-fashioned fun. It’s the type of

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Book Review: The Day the Cowboys Quit

“The Day the Cowboys Quit” is a 1971 Elmer Kelton book, based in the early 1880s on the Texas Panhandle. Things are changing rapidly, and few, if any, are equipped to handle the change. The old-school cowboys want to keep their way of life, working hard for $25 a month, riding for the brand and,

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Book Review: The Californios

“The Californios” is a Louis L’Amour book, which means I’m predisposed to like it, which I did. It has been almost 10 years since the last time I read it, so the benefit of my bad memory paid off, and I got to enjoy it almost as if it were the first time. It’s a

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