Tag Archives: western

Briefly Noted: ‘The Hart Brand’ by Johnny D. Boggs

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Many men in my generation grew up watching westerns at the theater and on TV. The first movie I remember seeing was “The Big Sky” based on the A.B. Gutherie’s 1947 novel set in Montana. Name a western movie made between 1940 and 1970, and I probably saw it. Yes, I liked “Shane” and “High Noon,” and some years later, “Lonesome Dove.” Yet, I haven’t read a western in years, much less gone to a western genre film.

You can tell just how long I’ve been away from westerns when I confess that when a friend who was downsizing his book collection gave me a copy of The Hart Brand, I’d never heard of author Johnny D. Boggs even though he’s prolific, viewed by many as the best westerns genre author in the business, and the winner of multiple Spur Awards.

I enjoyed the yarn.

We’re talking about a western for readers who are serious about westerns set in the days of Pat Garrett and the 1890s New Mexico Territory. Greenhorn Caleb Hart, whose father runs a mercantile in Missouri, heads west at 14 to work on his uncle’s ranch and send his paychecks back home to help support the family.

The book’s style and tone remind me of western novels of an earlier era and, for a story about a huge ranch, a hard-as-nails uncle Frank, cattle rustlers, strained family relationships, and frontier justice, the writing is perfect.

The “Booklist” review said, “Boggs writes with a drawling assurance, maintaining a keen eye for the details of life on the range. This is a fine western story about family ties and loyalty, set among cowboys rather than gunslingers, but with plenty enough action to satisfy.”

I don’t plan to go back to reading westerns, but this novel was an interesting change of pace. In a review, I would probably give it four stars. The writing is good enough for five stars but the story, in one form or another, has been told a thousand times. Nonetheless, a fun book. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Malcolm

 

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The Call of the Mountains: The Artists of Glacier National Park

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Larry Len Peterson brings together in one book a representative selection of the artists who have been inspired by Glacier National Park along with commentary that places the work into a historical perspective.

The Call of the Mountains: The Artists of Glacier National Park (Mountain Press Publishing, 2002), is organized into four sections: “Sign Talkers: The Authors,” “Empire Builders: The Hills and Their Artists” “Shadow Catchers: The Photographers” and “Word Painters: Charles M. Russell and Friends.”

Author of over forty publications, Peterson is a collector of western art and the former chairman of the Charles M. Russell Museum’s advisory board.

Jerry Fetz, of Crown of the Continent E-Magazine writes, “The Call of the Mountains is an exceptional book, one that every admirer of Western art and Glacier National Park, separately but especially together, should own, look at again and again, and give to likeminded or even potentially like-minded friends and family members on special occasions. We owe Larry Len Peterson much gratitude for gathering these artists and works together, and for supplying extremely important textual background and information about the artists, their artistic works, and the amazing Glacier National Park that inspired them.”

A magical novel set in Glacier National Park