Five Star, Sep 15 2015, $25.95
A decade after the Civil War ended, cowhand Lucas Brent, Francis Gallagher the eastern dime novel writer (as Ben Blunt), Preacher, a fancy lady, teenager Justin Bodeau and his father ride the stage in Texas Hill Country when outlaws attack it. The two company men, Justin’s dad and the fancy lady die during the assault. Before leaving the robbers kill the horses and leave no water for those still alive. The four surviving passengers begin an arduous trek in the barren isolated land when Comanche led by revenge-seeking Bent Feather capture them and tie them to the ground so they can die slow deaths from heat and dehydration. Rangers rescue the men and take them to nearby Bentley.
In town the four go their separate ways with Justin finding his Aunt Sara Bolger who takes him in to live with her. As the fifteen years old lad adjusts to his new home and studies the map his father possessed that allegedly shows the location of gold cached during the War Between the States, a cattle war heats up with hired professional gunslingers endangering everyone in and around town.
Returning to post Civil War Texas Hill Country (see Sagebrush Westerns- Bent Red Moon), Russ Hall provides a tremendous 1870s saga starring an intrepid teen supported by a solid cast who bring to life time and place. Loaded with action from the opening stagecoach robbery and never easing off the accelerator until the final exciting climax; Mr. Hall transports genre fans to the era and locale; as we feel the dry heat stumbling alongside the survivors during their harrowing trek.