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Posted December 3, 2003
Life on a Cattle Drive is a Page Turner
Ralph Compton, most famous for his book, The Goodnight Trail, passed away in 1999. Mr. Compton¿s westerns entertained millions, and although he is no longer with us, his style of writing lives on. The Ralph Compton series is now written by other western writers with skill and imagination. The latest in the Compton series, The Abilene Trail, is the cowboy novel at its best. Dusty Richards weaves a tale that keeps you bolted to your seat for the entire ride. Based on real characters and real events, The Abilene Trail leads us through an exciting time in our nation¿s history, by letting Ben McCollough take us on a trail drive from Kerr Mac County, Texas to the newly formed town of Abilene, Kansas. There, a visionary by the name of McCoy, sets up the first real beef distribution for the towns that seemed to pop up like mushrooms in the night west of the Mississippi. McCollough is a tough Civil War veteran who dreams of having a large ranch, and a new wife. McCollough has lead the rough and tumble life of a cowboy, but wants to settle down with the widow, Jenny Fulton, who is raising three boys on her own. Ben hires Mark, her oldest, to help drive a herd of Mexican Longhorns north to Abilene. McCollough sets out to hire men he served with during the war, but ends up with a crew of young, inexperienced hands. Doubts plague him from the beginning. He worries that he might not only lose his herd, he might lose the lives of his young drovers. After dangerous river crossings, dealing with Indians not too happy about the white men on their land, and bandits that seem to be lurking behind every rock, McCollough realizes that the boys he has hired, are really men that he is proud to work with. Dusty Richards has the heart of a true cowboy, and it is evident in his prose. He spatters each scene with a realistic picture of the hard edged life that the pioneers of the Old West endured. He gives us colorful characters, rich detail, and a wonderful and vivid sense of place. There is a touching love story woven through The Abilene Trail, and edge of your seat action on every page. A surprise ending completes the masterful story telling style that Richards has become famous for. The Abilene Trail is not only true to historical fact, but it is a story that captures you from the first word, and doesn¿t let you go until you¿ve read the last.
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Posted April 12, 2013
Posted September 3, 2010
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