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Monday’s Western Review

Book Review: Once a Renegade

Peter Brandvold’s 2002 novel, “Once a Renegade,” is quite a morality tale, under the umbrella of an old-fashioned Western. Shambeau is a Métis Indian who lives alone, as much as he can, and avoids people whenever possible. He is looked down on as a “dirty half breed” and lives his life by a code that

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Book Review: Old Yeller

Fred Gipson’s 1956 “Old Yeller” is a classic, iconic book and movie. It’s a Newbery Honor-winning novel about a mangy, rascal of a stray dog — named Old Yeller — and the Coates family, who adopts Old Yeller while their father is off on a cattle drive. In 1860s Texas, having a dog could be

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Book Review: Law Man

Like many a good, traditional Western, Lee Leighton’s 1953 novel, “Law Man,” focuses on the ongoing battle between ranchers and farmers. The ranchers got there first, and they feel it’s “their” land and won’t give it up, the law be damned, even if they have to kill to keep it. But the times are changing,

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Movie Review: Silverado

Right up front, let’s get this out of the way – “Silverado” is an extremely funny movie and at the same time, a great Western story. If you enjoy movies, enjoy humor and enjoy Westerns, this is the movie for you! “Silverado” opens with Emmett (Scott Glenn) killing three men who ambush him in a

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Movie Review: Maverick

“Maverick” is a comedy from start to finish — and a good one at that. Mel Gibson stars as the card-playing, wisecracking con artist Bret Maverick. James Garner plays Marshal Zane Cooper (Maverick’s dad) and makes it clear where Bret gets his attributes. Jodie Foster shows off her comedy chops as the beautiful Annabelle Bransford,

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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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