Thursday, November 4, 2010
Richmond Hobson, Jr., Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy
This operation is located in grassland valleys among the mountain ranges, several days' ride from the nearest town and over 200 miles from the nearest rail line. It is a land where winters are severe, and the first challenge facing them is a December cattle drive that ends in near-disaster as the men are overtaken by a fierce blizzard and sub-zero temperatures.
The son of an admiral in the U.S. Navy, Hobson is an educated Easterner living a life of pioneering adventure on one of the last western frontiers on the continent. His story is peopled with a large cast of memorable characters, including cowhands, ranchers, storekeepers, and Indians.
His gifts as a writer are many, as he intensifies the suspense and drama of several high-risk enterprises and fully relishes the humor in others. The attempt to transport a herd of wild horses by night from an offshore island to the Vancouver stockyards is told with a masterful grasp of knee-slapping farce.
There's even a little romance, as our cowboy hero goes in breathless search of the girl of his dreams, armed only with a snapshot of her standing beside a prize Jersey bull. The book became the basis for a TV series on Canadian television in 1998-99.
Coming up: Ridgwell Cullum, The Sheriff of Dyke Hole (1909)