Wednesday, 9 August 2017


It’s becoming the norm when I ask authors which is the favourite of their books for them to pick 2! (It’s a tough call, I know, like asking which is your favourite pet, your cat or your dog.) Brad Dennison does have a personal favourite of his westerns, which I’ll post about shortly. However he tells me it’s really best to start with THE LONG TRAIL, the first of his McCABE series. Brad says: ‘The McCabes aren't really stand-alone novels. There are story arcs that weave their way through more than one novel.’

THE LONG TRAIL begins with Dusty, who grew up on the frontier never knowing who his parents were. Coming into young manhood he decides to find them. His quest takes him first to Nevada (where he encounters a woman in danger at a lonely stage station, resulting in a cracking shoot-out in Chapter 1.) Dusty discovers his father is still alive – former gun fighter Johnny McCabe, now a rancher in Montana. Arriving at his father’s ranch, Dusty has to adapt to his new family - not only his father, but his step-brother and sister. And while he’s about it raiders strike - men Dusty knows all too well from his childhood.
Here’s a real way-station in Nevada

and another at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 

And here’s two prominent Montana cattle ranchers:
GRANVILLE STUART (1834-1918) a rancher (and also author) who started cattle ranching in Montana as early as 1857. 

And German-born CONRAD KOHRS (1835-1920) who started ranching in Montana in 1866 but suffered mixed fortunes: ‘I guess I’ve been broke oftener than any man in Montana.’

The theme of the prodigal son/ sons finding out his/their absent father is/was a big rancher naturally made me of 2 TV Western series: THE BIG VALLEY

 Lee Majors in 'THE BIG VALLEY'


The Montana ranch location also reminded me of THESE THOUSAND HILLS, a film based on a novel by A. B. Guthrie Jr., a writer who both Brad and I admire.

Finally the woman in danger at the remote way-station brought to mind Karen Steele in the Randolph Scott western RIDE LONESOME (1959.)

The last time I looked THE LONG TRAIL has garnered 110 5 star reviews!
‘A classic western.’
‘The best western I’ve read in a long time.’
‘Found myself sitting up late at night not able to put it down.’
'In the vein of the late Louis L'Amour.'
'Great book, never goes stale.'
'Some good characters and some very fine writing.' 

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