Old West Book Reviews: Last Warrior

Last WarriorThe Last Warrior, W. Michael Farmer, Five Star Publishing, $25.95, Cloth. Historical Fiction.
This is the third book in the series featuring the Mescalero Apache known as “Yellow Boy.” Earlier books in this series are Killer of Witches, and Blood of the Devil.
Yellow Boy lived sometime from 1860 through 1950, giving the author Michael Farmer an historical time frame through which the Mescalero Apaches survived the great changes brought upon them due to the arrival and domination of white men in the Southwest.
These Yellow Boy books are not only exciting, but help give readers an understanding of Apache culture. Their food, living conditions, beliefs and traditions are carefully woven into the stories. Some words in Apache are introduced, and fictional characters are mixed with some real people who lived during this time. Everything is carefully researched.
This third book is narrated by Yellow Boy himself as he tells his life story to another fictional character, Henry Fountain, who, as a child, had been rescued by Yellow Boy and has remained a close friend and ally of his Apache friend and teacher. While Henry listens, Yellow Boy explains about the most important adventures of his life dealing with both white people and various Apache enemies, plus some escapades that took Yellow Boy far into Mexico while having to deal with characters such as Pancho Villa.
Readers like Yellow Boy. He is not only a straight shooter in life, but a keen marksman having special Powers. A crack shot with his rifle, he is highly respected and carries great pride in the handling of firearms. He uses that to his advantage, but remains always fair in his dealings with friends as well as foe.

In this story Yellow Boy is determined to keep his family safe, while making necessary adjustments to their new life on a reservation. The story moves along quickly with good descriptions of the countryside, weather, animals, and all that is encountered during long rides through this unforgiving desert region.

We learn how a vindictive witch, who is the half-sister of the villain in a previous story, is determined to get even with Yellow Boy for having killed her murderous brother. This witch is nearly as bad as her brother and Yellow Boy must find a way to settle her hash. Her name is Ojo Verde, having one green eye and one brown eye. She plots the demise of Yellow Boy, cooking up all sorts of terrible revenge.

Of course Yellow Boy wins at the end of the story, but just when he is resting on his laurels and enjoying a peaceful smoke, there is more trouble on the horizon. Yellow Boy and both his wives hear talk about some missing friends. Supplies are short, and winter is coming on. It looks like Yellow Boy is in for yet another exciting adventure.

Stay Tuned.

Publisher’s Notes: The reviewer, Phyllis Morreale-de la Garza is the author of numerous books about the Old West, including Death For Dinner, the Benders of (Old) Kansas, Silk Label Books, P.O. Box 399, Unionville, New York, 10988. Ph. (845) 726-3434. www.silklabelbooks.com

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Chuckwagon: Mincemeat Pie

Mincemeat PieWith the holidays just around the corner we wanted to come up with something festive.  So, here’s an “old timer’s” recipe for mincemeat pie.

Boil the neck meat of a cow, deer or elk until tender.  Grind the meat.  Cook with a cup of vinegar for about three hours.  Add cooked apples, raisins, some allspice, cinnamon, cloves, molasses and black pepper.  Heat thoroughly all ingredients.  If you want a little kick, add some brandy or whiskey.

The ingredients can be stored in a covered bowl in a cool place until you are ready to use them.  Just before placing the mincemeat in a pie crust you can add some freshly diced apples.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Heard Around the Bunkhouse #6 – Old West Lingo

Old West LingoIn our feature Heard Around the Bunkhouse we bring you Old West lingo and sayings that they used back in the Old West. Hope you enjoy them, and send us your favorite terms from those past times.

JIG IS UP: The scheme or game is over. We’ve been exposed.

KNOCKED INTO A COCKED HAT: Fouled up or rendered useless

WIND UP: Settle. “Let’s wind up this business and go home.”

WEARING THE BUSTLE WRONG: A pregnant woman.

BEST BID AND TUCKER: Wearing your best clothes.

GET THE MITTEN: Being rejected by a lover.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Chuckwagon: Chocolate Cowboy Caramels

Below is a candy recipe from the October 23, 1893 Albuquerque Evening Citizen.

Chocolate Cowboy Caramels – boil together a pound of white sugar, a quarter of a pound of chocolate, four tablespoons of molasses, a cup of sweet milk, and apiece of butter as big as a walnut. When it will harden in water, flavor with vanilla and pour on a buttered slab. When nearly cold, cut in squares.

Cowboy Caramels

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Old West Book Review: Villa Lobos

Villa LobosVilla Lobos, Michael Zimmer, Five Star Publishing, $25.95, Hardcover, Western Fiction.

Author Michael Zimmer has written an action-packed, fast-paced western novel that will appeal to readers thirsty for tough adventure tales about the Old West.  Sit back, read, and have fun with it, but don’t try to spend much time trying to figure out who all the characters are.  The names are many.

The story titled Villa Lobos, means “Village of Wolves” giving an apt description of where this story is headed.  You will find four groups of individuals riding south out of Texas and across the Rio Grande river where they are going to collide in a flurry of treachery, gun smoke, slashing knives, and dynamite.

The first group is made up of a gang of American outlaws who have just robbed a bank in Texas.  Some people were killed, the town is in shock, and the gang now heads south where they plan to divide the loot.  The leader is an ex-Confederate soldier named Hollister.

The second group consists of the American sheriff, leading a posse of adventuresome cowboys and townspeople who want their money back.  The sheriff is an old hand at law enforcement and trailing felons, but desert heat and whining store keepers not used to riding with a posse slow him down.

The third group presents a half dozen soldiers escorting three runaway prostitutes back to the town they came from.  The women are riding in a wagon, dressed as soldiers, and voicing more than their share of complaints as they plod along only to be ambushed and taken prisoners by the outlaw Hollister gang who seem to think the women will make valuable hostages in case the sheriff catches up.  The surprised soldiers are embarrassed, and decide to go after the outlaws to get the women back.

Now the story presents a fourth group made up of Mexican bandits, cutthroats, liars and thieves.  They are scalp hunters attacking Indian bands in Mexico for scalp bounty.  They also take children and young women prisoners to be traded or sold deep in the Mexican interior as household servants, prostitutes and slaves.  Known as “The Hunters” this outfit has not one individual that readers would care to-deal with.  They headquarter in Villa Lobos, giving the town its name, and through murder and fear, control everybody.  The leader is so vicious and corrupt we despise him instantly. (Remember The Magnificent Seven?)  The old priest in town is the only person who escapes the bandit leader’s wrath.

By now, you have guessed you will have lots of names to wend through, but still there is no clear-cut protagonist whom we can cheer for, worry about, or hope he or she will come out on top.  A character brave, respectable, wise, admirable, memorable, does not surface here.  While we wonder why we are even reading this book, we find we cannot put it down.  The action never stops, one shocking surprise after another finds us turning pages because we don’t want to miss anything.

The author has a good understanding of horses, guns, desert heat, the Spanish language, military procedure, historic Mexican villages, and the ability to put it on paper.  Without a memorable protagonist the plot is shaky, but if you like western adventure stories, Villa Lobos will entertain you to the last page

Publisher’s Note: The reviewer Phyllis Morreale-de la Garza is the author of numerous books about the Old West including the novel Lost Roundup, published by Silk Label Books, P.O. Box 399, Unionville, New York 10988. www.silklabelbooks.corn

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

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