5.5 x 8.5, 191 pages, pb
By Karl L. StewartI have always been a sucker for good cowboy stories, and Stewartís book is just that. Reader's Favorite Review
It's the final cattle drive for Bar L Ranch manager "Big Jim
McCarty, but a first for Choctaw Indian-turned-cowboy See Bird Carpenter. And what a drive it turns out to be. As he rides the round-up from Texas to Kansas, See Bird gains a profound understanding of the lesson his father taught him: "A man makes his own life and generally gets what he believes he deserves."
Along the way, See Bird takes novice cowboy Luke under his wing, never suspecting that before the pair are able to return to the Bar L, See Bird will attempt to save his young charge's life.
Barely older than the teenage Luke, See Bird possesses gifts that belie his youth and inexperience. He needs every one of them as he battles cattle rustlers unafraid to use their guns to steal some of the 3,100 cattle "Big Jim" expects See Bird, Luke and other Bar L ranch hands to protect.
"Keep your eyes open and your Winchester loaded," ranch foreman Slocum warns See Bird.
Those words gain currency as See Bird trades shots with the rustlers, tries to head off a stampede that threatens the entire herd and tosses his weapons aside as his life hangs in the balance.
Along the way, he faces his biggest challenge: Does he spend the rest of his life with the woman he loves, Mattie O'Meara, or continue to answer the call of a wild west that shows no mercy but continually offers a "reckless ecstasy?"
See Bird makes his choice, but not before heeding the very advice he earlier imparts to Luke during the dangerous cattle drive: "Red or white donít matter much. Itís right or wrong that counts."
Based on a true character, mighty fine reading for those drawn to the adventure-packed days of the Old West. And educational and inspirational to boot! - Margaret L. Miller, author of The Glory Years
Karl Stewart's story of See Bird Carpenter is a gripping tale of an Indian-turned-cowboy embarking on his first-ever cattle drive. Filled with details that vividly paint the picture of the challenges and occasional delights of a cattle drive in a lawless land, the book's only disappointment is that it ends too soon. I relished every page, anxious to see how the young Choctaw would use his intuition and integrity to escape dangerous trials including a stampede, cattle rustlers and finally, a romance that would put at risk his very way of life. This morality tale masquerading as a western uses elegantly crafted storytelling to impart the timeless lesson that, as See Birdís father taught him: "A man makes his own life and generally gets what he believes he deserves." I can't wait for the sequel to find out what new dangers await See Bird as he tries to tame a wild west in which more adventures surely await. óTim Lyke: Publisher of the Ripon Commonwealth Press
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