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Smoking repeaters, thundering hoofbeats, outlaws, Indians, and chewin'-tobacco dialogue--all those, plus a passionately feudin' couple, add up to an old-fashioned Western that gives equal attention to rough stuff and romance. Our hero is Tennessee Smith, a guerrilla for the South during the Civil War, the son of a gentlemanly judge (who describes Tennessee as ""an atavism of some sort, a throwback to buckskin days""), a towering hulk with a dark wolf streak in his yellow hair. Our heroine is Stella, the judge's daughter-in-law, married to Tennessee's quiet brother Paul. Stella is one tough lady, Scarlett-O'Hara-style, and when the Krull gang--a pollution of looting-and-killing scum on the prowl in Tennessee--rapes her and massacres both Patti and the judge, she turns to prodigal brother-in-law Tennessee: she begs and prods him towards revenge, she ""won't let him stop. . . not until every Krull that lives is back in the earth."" So Stella and Tennessee (who's on the lam from the Feds) set out on the Krull trail to Texas and Indian territory, using Stella's money and wits to abet Tennessee's gun-power. And along the way there's a hot night of love (well, it's really sort of a semi-rape) that produces a child: ashamed and furious, Stella passes the babe off as Paul's and quits the vengeance road. But Tennessee keeps blazing away, picking off Krulls and other varmints appertaining, and it all ends with Stella dumping her dude-ish fianc‚ and Tennessee rescuing his small son from a Comanche camp. A good bet if you're champing for a satisfying gallop down the old trail in Restoration, Texas--gents or ladies, it don't matter none.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Dutton