NTE WALSH: 1856-1913 by Jack Schaefer
Kirkus Star

NTE WALSH: 1856-1913

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Schaefer's way West (it was evident in Shane and more lately in The Plainsman) is through people -- not the crowds that populate the idiot-epic of the screen but the ordinary individuals that do more than a day's work for a day's pay. They are not necessarily in collision with their times, they are usually of it. That's how it is with the title character here. From runaway boy to trail rider, and from that to top ranch hand and bronco buster, Monte's early life was lived during the peak years of open range cattle ranching. As the range was fenced in, Monte's descent from the glory of being a cowboy in a cowboy's West begins, until from saddle bum he goes to reclusive caretaker at a small lodge in Texas. Monte never knew what or how it happened, just that he didn't like it, but he lived it through with dignity and courage. Along the way, as he learns' and lives every aspect of a cowboy's role, the details are spread out for reader satisfaction. His world was the stuff of all ""Western novels"" --the bunkhouse crew, the slicked-up ride to town on payday, the back-to-work hangover after and always the trail. What Mr. Schaefer does with this is lift it out of the area of escape entertainment and into life, where the rise and fall of a really good fellow and a ""good man with a horse"" has a meaning that defines his time -- and is a lesson for ours.

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin