The author rides as roughshod over the language as he does this land but there is a raw, gripping vitality in this contemporary western. Jim Kane is one of the misplaced souls trying to make it as a cattle trader on the Mexican border. There is more about remuda and the blood, sweat and fears of a long Mexican drive than in a year of Gunsmoke and the author knows his subject well. . . from the wilder aspects of rodeo below the border to circumcising a Brahma. Not to mention the subtle and not-so-subtle forms of horse trading, no easy bargain when up against men whose lives depend on dealing harder and faster than the hated gringos who come down to rob their ranch and rape their women. There are a few memorable characters, all larger than life--""The Lion,"" a huge Mexican who is the undisputed king of the rocky Sierras; Charles Smith, who gave up American comfort for Mexican moral conditioning; Juan Vogel, wild on mescal, a rough enemy but a tough friend. It's a glimpse of the old ways with harsher standards but somehow more satisfying ways and Jim Kane is the kind of man's man who will always appeal to a certain nostalgic audience.