When Tom Chaney got drunk and shot Frank Ross, fourteen-year-old Mattie Rose Moss was convinced that Chaney represented an eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth case. She lit out from Dardanelle, Arkansas, determined to be Tom's fitting executioner and negotiated for the help of Rooster Cogburn, a U.S. Marshal of wide repute, mean disposition, and deadly fast draw. Despite his initial reluctance and the unwelcome presence of a pesky bounty hunter who wanted to take Chaney alive, Mattie Rose crossed into the Indian Territory, where (in the 1880's) scalping was more common than barbering, and she brought down her quarry after a series of Pearl White climaxes. Annoyed by the loose allusions to her great adventure made by an Arkansas housewife-historian, middle-aged Mattie Rose sets all the record straight in a positive Presbyterian no-nonsense first person that is marvelously funny. Hollywood has a topper to Cat Ballon here and readers of Portis' first novel Norwood will have their respect for the breadth of his comic range confirmed and increased. True Grit is a rarity--a truly comic novel and that's a seldom thing in these drearily. Freud-ily unfunny days.