Friday, April 3, 2020

Sierra Showdown by John Reese


Bobby, men is the cheapest thing in the world! I can buy all the men I need. It’s like buying nails—by the pound or by the keg, whichever suits you. But a man who’ll stick with you and tell you the truth and think for himself, that’s something money can’t buy.”

My first read of Mr. Reese. This is a fast-paced title put out by Fawcett Gold Medal in 1971. It is a familiar tale of beleaguered ranch versus those who wish to run owners off of the land.

On one hand it is no great shakes in originality or even events for that matter, but…I spent a pleasant afternoon with it and enjoyed the author’s interior observations.
Such as the following referring to the atmosphere around the ranch once some know trouble is on the way.

The spring wagon got there about noon. By then only six men remained. The others had drifted away by ones and twos, remembering little chores Ed wanted them to do. They would be long gone from Wild Rose Valley before this night fell, but Bobby said nothing to them. Nothing could hold a certain kind of man when the chips were all shoved in this way.

Or this…

Worse than anything else was their hunger. With a full belly a man was just about equal to anything. When it was empty, so was his heart.

Again, no great shakes, but hearty fare nevertheless.

Gentle Annie by MacKinlay Kantor

When we reached the place where Cotton had left his horse and buggy, we had a few moments’ conversation. The Goss brothers spoke with rar...