The Quick and the Dead

December 9, 2011

By: Louis L’amour
Reviewed by: C Cornell
Rated 4 out of 5 star

The lawless west, full of open plains, vast arrays of plains, gangs, and a small family the Mckaskels. The Mckaskels are looking for a better opportunity in life out west. Duncan is the husband of Susanna and is a well mannered educated man. Susanna is out west with her husband and is very cautious and not egger to having to take the trip in the first place, her and Duncan share a son named Tom who is adventurous and thinks he’s older than what he really is.

                While camping for a night next to a small shanty town a suspicious man rides into the Mckaskels camp. His name is Con Vallian, a shady and suspicious man that can or cannot be trusted. He comes and is looking for food and something to drink and then he mentions that Duncan’s horses are gone and that they were stolen by the gang from town. Duncan, being brave and taking back what is his he rides into town to take his two horses back knowing he will be outnumbered 1 to 6. He is then saved by who had shot a man that was behind Duncan. Duncan is able to then take the horses back and the family moved on with their trip, but Duncan is shocked by the fact that he almost died when he looks back on the incident and really changes his mood throughout the book. Con has decided to tag along with the family teaching them the ways of the land and aiding the Mckaskels in the abusive place that is the west but strangely leaves after awhile and comes back a few days later. But the Mckaskels are always cautious about Con since they don’t know him very well. The family has to worry about the chance of Con turning on them and the fear of the gang back in town following the Mckaskles for revenge.

                This book is just one of the many great books by Louis L’amour. His ability to use descriptive writing sets the whole mood of the book and the constant fear the Mckaskels face every day. The setting of this book really only stays in one place which is on a trail but the focus on the book isn’t really the setting but really the fears the Mckaskels face day to day. The book only has 153 pages but is jammed packed with details and an overall great plot. Although a small book some of the vocabulary can be challenging and the slang is sometimes hard to interpret. The beginning is a little slow, but don’t let that get you after about 20 pages the book gets better. Over all this is a great book that will make you want to keep reading.

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