THE BALLAD OF CACTUS JACK by Rex Benedict

THE BALLAD OF CACTUS JACK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Being unwanted--dead or alive--is the problem of Cactus Jack and his Pecos Gang; after abandoning their life of crime, they find they have lost the meaning of their existence. But rather than let them die, the local vet reintroduces them to crime (more to save Jack's horse than Jack). Deppity Sheriff Sagebrush Sheridan the Third, the new sheriff of Medicine Creek at sixteen fathers a posse of wayward boys (from the Pecos River 'School for Wayward Boys) with names like Pancho, Pork Chop, Dirk, Hack, Murdoc, Grit, Lud, Hernia and Fernia, and sets out to save the life of Cactus Jack while at the same time preventing the total destruction of Texas. The humor is like all of Benedict's previous western satires (Last Stand at Goodbye Gulch, KR, 1974; Goodbye to the Purple Sage, KR, 1973; Good Luck Arizona Man, KR, 1972) and may well appeal to young readers who feel they can't get too much of a good thing. Indeed, there is a certain poignancy in the plight of Cactus Jack, going blind and outliving his usefulness (if outlaws are useful), even though Benedict seems headed for the same fate.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1975
Page count: 136pp
Publisher: Pantheon