Louis L'Amour,
The Man from the Broken Hills
(Bantam, 1975)

Milo Talon (whose mother was a Sackett) has been riding the outlaw trail for some time when he decides to put down stakes -- at least temporarily -- and take a job with an outfit in Texas. He soon learns that his new employer and all the surrounding ranches are missing thousands of young cows, and a range war is likely as soon as the ranchers figure out who's behind all the thieving.

He also finds an old man who, years before, had done his family a disservice, and Talons -- like Sacketts -- have long memories when it comes to being wronged.

Talon meets an unruly longhorn bull and discovers a mysterious gunman on his heels. He finds a girl, another girl and yet another girl -- or, wait, is it four? -- so there's plenty of potential for romance. The chapter describing the exciting box social is a whole lot of fun.

It is, in short, another sterling Louis L'Amour adventure in the Old West! It's not perfect -- L'Amour sets his hero on a meandering path in his quest to solve the mystery and get the girl (one of them, anyway), but it's a strong tale I remember reading many times in my youth. It was a treat to read it again.

book review by
Tom Knapp

25 February 2017

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