Ambush at Mustang Canyon

Written by Mike Kearby
Review by B. J. Sedlock

Free Anderson, a former slave, and Parks Scott are partners in a business selling tamed mustangs to the Army in 1870s Texas. After helping an Army scout friend lands them in the Battle of Adobe Walls, they want to avoid taking sides in future Indian conflicts. But the Army seems determined to endanger them again, forcing them to lead troops to a hidden encampment of gathered tribes. If Free and Parks refuse, they will be shunned as “Indian lovers” and lose their main market for horses. If they do help find the camp, then the Kiowa, who have given Free a valued spirit pony, will believe he’s betrayed them.

While numerous chapters give the Native American point of view, it’s still a traditional Western, concentrating on Free and Parks’ story. This volume, the third in a series aimed at young adults, emphasizes action over characterization. Reading the three in sequence might provide more character insight than is contained in this volume alone. Still, the exciting action was enough to keep me interested. An author’s note tells what happened to the real people after the story ends, and a glossary explains Native American and Spanish expressions.