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by Theodore V. Olsen

A high adventure western saga follows the endeavors of colorful cowboys, thieves, convicts, and lawmen who battle the untamed frontier and each other in their quest for the promise of freedom, wealth, and revenge. Original.
Download Westward They Rode epub
ISBN: 0843940212
ISBN13: 978-0843940213
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Theodore V. Olsen
Language: English
Publisher: Leisure Books (June 1, 1996)
Pages: 224 pages
ePUB size: 1239 kb
FB2 size: 1524 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 172
Other Formats: azw lit txt docx

This is a collection of the short stories of Theodore Victor Olsen (1932 - 1993). The stories are well written, comparable to the western short stories of Elmore Leonard, two volumes of which I recently read.

"Backtrail" which first appeared in "Ranch Romances" in 1956, is about a retired gunslinger who has tried to leave his violent life in the past, changed his named and become a small rancher. But his past catches up with him. "The Cache and the Convict" is from the same periodical and appeared in the same year, 1956. An escaped convict meets a girl whose father has just died, but another man knows about the dead man's cache of gold. "A Kind of Courage" appeared in the 1970 volume, "With Guidons Flying," and is about Indians scouting for Black Hawk's band of Sac. Olsen is very sympathetic to the Indians, and the two stories about Indians in the volume have them in the protagonist role.

"One for the Money" is about a young man trying to secure his place in life; he works several jobs and hoards the money. When he is elected town marshal, some think he can be bought, but they've misjudged him. "The Strange Valley" is sort of a supernatural ghost story that first appeared in "Ghost Stories of the Old West" (1968). "The Reckoning" is about a man who comes home from prison with the goal of getting his son out of the criminal life and onto the straight and narrow. "Point of Honor" is about Swedish "nesters" who come into conflict with a free-range rancher. "The War at Peaceville" is another 1956 story that appeared in "Ranch Romances" and is a lighthearted piece about some town leaders' efforts to recruit a strong young man to be the town marshal. "No-Fights" is about an atypical Sioux Indian who doesn't like to fight and hunt, but is forced into a desperate situation by a group of army deserters. "They Walked Tall" is another story, narrated by a 12 year old boy, about the conflict between open range ranchers and homesteaders, "sodbusters" or "nesters" who want to fence in and farm the land.

These stories are well written and entertaining. I only deducted a star because some of them were repetitive in theme. For example, "A Kind of Courage" and "No-fights" feature indian protagonists who were almost exactly alike, and "Point of Honor" and "They Walked Tall" feature the exact same tension between homesteaders and open range ranchers. A similar plot device (an un-accounted for weapon cached nearby the scene of the action) is also used in both "Convict and the Cache" and "Point of Honor." "Convict and the Cache" and "They Walked Tall" were my favorites of this collection.
If you like the short Western stories of Bill Pronzini and Lewis Patten, you will certainly enjoy this collection.

Highly recommended.