Today for FFB, I am running Barry’s 2013 review of Ghost Town Gold by William Colt MacDonald. Have a great weekend and read!
Reviewed by Barry Ergang
After killing the town of
His prediction is wrong—fatally so. They fight it out with the posse for two days, managing to kill some of them, until their own guns are silenced. When members of the posse enter the cave, they find the outlaws' bodies. What they can't find is the stolen gold.
Twenty years later, three men ride into Prospect. "The three were Tucson Smith, Lullaby Joslin and Stony Brooke, owners of the 3-Bar-O Ranch, pardners (sic) in the breeding of cattle, tracking down of law-busters and in general all-around trouble-shooting...(M)en called them by various names...Probably the title which fitted them best and by which they were most widely known was that of The Three Mesquiteers."
Leaving their ranch in the capable hands of employees, the
Mesquiteers have come to Prospect, according to
Mostly an action-loaded western adventure but also partly a detective story—though not of the fair-play variety—Ghost Town Gold teams the Mesquiteers with pretty Sabina Thornton, daughter of the late banker; a feisty older woman named Stampmill Randle; Marty Barrett; and Border Ranger Jerry Woodruff, to try to solve multiple mysteries, one of which is a murder. Who has been sending Sabina notes directing her to the ghost town of Nemesis with the promise of recovering the missing gold? Who has taken a potshot at the Mesquiteers soon after their arrival in Nemesis? What about the so-called Dragon Man? Is he just an elderly eccentric or someone more sinister?
Complicating matters is the presence in Nemesis of Dirk
Barrington and his gang. Although they have another reason for being there,
they want the gold for themselves and have no reluctance about killing to
obtain it. Having been denied rooms at the Nemesis Hotel by the Mesquiteers,
who with their friends are staying in the long-abandoned establishment, the
Ghost Town Gold is pure entertainment of the pulpiest kind, and is recommended to readers who aren't concerned with psychological portraits, philosophical digressions, or poetic prose, and only want some rip-snortin' fun that includes pounding hooves and six-shooters spurting hot lead. If I have a nit to pick, it's the one concerning admonitions to writers about speech attributions that William Colt MacDonald consistently violates. Instead of letting said and ask stand alone, he almost invariably tacks on an adverb—e.g., "he said darkly." Or—more frequently—he shuns said in favor of other words: yelled, howled, bragged, denied, drawled, jerked out, sneered, to cite a handful. The story's mix of mystery, suspense, action and humor will most likely have readers galloping past them.
Barry Ergang © 2013, 2020
Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s written work has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. Some of it is available at Amazon and at Smashwords. His website is http://www.writetrack.yolasite.com/.