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Gangsters threaten the balance of power in a west Texas cow town already rocked by the oil boom of the 1920's. Kelton's long string of westerns includes The Man Who Rode Midnight and The Good Old Boys. Sheriff Dave Buckalew, a veteran of the Great War and a former cowboy, is The Law in Caprock. There is a judge somewhere in the background, and the stingy county commissioners have sprung for a deputy's salary, but Buckalew is the one with the brains and the nerve and the day-to-day duty of keeping the lid on Caprock as it endures the transformation from a predictable little ranching center to an oil town. The growth from the discovery of oil has come so fast that the big, new, labor force of cowhands-turned-riggers is housed in a suburb comprised of tents. The influx of money has also brought gambling, prostitution, fights, robbery, and bootlegging. With no one but his proto-Barney Fife deputy to help, about all Buckalew can do is keep the criminal dealings clean and open until things settle down. What he fears most is the arrival of organized crime, gangsters with more firepower and clout than he can muster--and indeed Mr. Big Boy Daugherty, recently evicted from the Panhandle by the Texas Rangers, has sent a couple of emissaries to scout out the wild little town. As Sheriff Buckalew prepares for battle, an unlucky, overspent wildcatter and his pretty young wife drill deeper and deeper; a drunken driller tries to get a grip on himself; and a cowboy named Slim loses his saddle, gets oil under his nails, and also gets to know a smart little waitress. All this, mind you, as the Chrysler building is going up. Entertaining, romantic, and authentic. Kelton was there and it shows.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1990
ISBN: 385-24893-8
Publisher: Doubleday
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